ROCKTON—The COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 made Hononegah Community High School Fine Arts students want to collectively scream.

That’s why a group of four students chose to design this year’s snow sculpture for the 35th annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition based on the iconic Edward Munch painting “The Scream.”

The competition, with both adult and high school divisions, is slated for Jan. 27 through Jan. 30 in Sinnissippi Park in Rockford. It was delayed due to warmer weather not conducive for snow sculpting.

Since 2016, the Rockford Park District has relied on man-made snow versus Mother Nature providing the snow, but temperatures need to consistently remain cold enough to make snow. Each block of snow for adult teams is 6 feet wide and 10 feet high, and requires 2.5 tons of snow. Each high school block is 4 wide, and 6 feet high and also requires a significant amount of snow per block.

Hononegah Fine Arts instructor Jennifer Decker said the pandemic has forced her to condense preparation with the team.

“Seeing the students this year has been a bit tougher,” Decker said. “It’s been more tricky to communicate everything about snow sculpting virtually.”

Team members this year include captain Xander Krueger, Ava Porter, Claire McKevitt and Annalee Kleeberger.

Decker said the team came up with the design for the Scream character with a face mask to use a little humor in addressing the pandemic. Decker said the design doesn’t have a lot of components as past sculptures had and that beauty in simplicity is by design.

“It’s going to be very different this year,” Decker said. “I think they will be able to pull it off really well.”

The Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition is a free, family-friendly community winter event hosted by the Rockford Park District, featuring nine state teams and eight high school teams.

For more information, visit https://ilsnowsculpting.com/