ROCKFORD — Last year a lack of snow canceled the Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition, but this year the area has been blanketed with plenty of snow that artists will be able to carve into cool creations.
This year sculpting teams from across the state will compete on Jan. 15-18 at Sinnissippi Park in Rockford.
The winner will have a chance to represent the state of Illinois at the U.S. Nationals Snow Sculpting Competition in 2015.
“One exhibition piece will be done by the team going to Nationals this year in Lake Geneva,” said Rockford Park District Senior Program Coordinator Sue Howard. “This is the 28th year of the competition. Each team works with the same invisible teammate — Mother Nature. Each year is unlike all others due to the weather conditions while sculpting.”
There will be 12 state teams competing this year: The Bank of Misfit Boys, Whippersnappers, Snowbabes, The Snowbound Express, Kilted Snow Weasels and Frosted Flakes are some of the teams listed for the 2014 competition. State teams will work on blocks of snow that are 10 feet high, 6 feet wide and 6 feet long.
In addition, 15 high school teams will compete in the high school division, January 16-18, 2014. High school teams will work on smaller blocks of snow that are 6 feet high, 4 feet wide and 4 feet long.
Hononegah High School in Rockton will have a team comprised of Ashleigh Balsley, Abigale Heitmann, Madeline Wellen and Bella Weymer with Jennifer Multhauf serving as advisor. Their sculpture is titled “Snow Peas.”
Other high school teams for the 2014 competition include: Belvidere North, East High, Pecatonica High, Auburn and Guilford High Schools.
“State teams are comprised of up to three members, age 18 or older, who are current residents of Illinois. High school teams are made up of four students from the same high school in northern Illinois with one team advisor who is a teacher or parent, advisor does not participate,” Howard said.
Line drawings of each team's sculpture are submitted at time of application, and block assignments are done by lottery.
Teams use axes, machetes, water buckets, shovels, ice chisels, and homemade scraping tools. No media other than snow, ice or water may be used and power tools are not permitted,” said Rockford Park District Public Relations & Social Media Manager Laura Gibbs.
Sculptures are judged in three categories: creativity, technique and the message represented.
“The competition is a free event, donations are welcome, and visitors may drive through or walk; viewing hours will be daily from sunrise until 11 p.m.,” Gibbs said.
According to Howard approximately 50,000 people are expected to view the sculptures over the four day event.
“Visitors are responsible for picking who should win the People's Choice Award which is determined by popularity of the sculpture,” Gibbs said.
Peoples Choice voting will take place Saturday, Jan. 18, from 8:30-11 a.m. with the awards ceremony will beginning at 1 p.m. Weather permitting the sculptures will remain standing for public viewing.
“This competition is great because teams enjoy learning something new from other teams whether it is a tool they have not seen before or a technique learned. With all the talent within this competition one can only leave a better snow sculptor,” said Howard.
For more information on the 2014 Snow Sculpting Competition and a complete list of teams visit http://ilsnowsculpting.com.