Sculptures of Snow and Ice

Last weekend was Traverse City’s Winter Wow!Fest, an annual multi-day celebration held to prevent folks from going stir crazy. You can find all kinds of goodies there, including my favorites: soup, snow sculptures, and ice sculptures.  Oooh, also elephant ears. (Which I did not have this year, but would definitely recommend, even if it makes your tummy upset every time you eat one. I can speak from experience: it’s worth it.) There are other activities, and if you’re interested, I suggest the link above. It’s too late this year, but the festival is annual, after all, so maybe you can come with us next year? Continue reading

Winter WOW!Fest

View of the bay through a chairlift at Mt. Holiday

I started this blog to keep in touch with the people who may be interested (or at least feign interest) in what we’ve been up to since we moved Up North.  If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve made it difficult for you to maintain said title.  It turns out that our “adventures” are more varied and frequent in the warmer months.  To be sure, we’ve adventured this winter: we’ve sledded, snow-shoed, skied, and we’ve done LOTS of deep-snow driving.  Since we’ve only been downhill skiing this winter, I haven’t carried along my trusty camera to take pictures of the bay from Mt. Holiday or of the rolling hills surrounding Shanty Creek.  Rest assured that we’ve adventured; we just have not photo-journalized aforementioned adventures.  So my point is this: I was going to write a blog tonight (no coincidence that it’s the last night in the month!) telling you about some of our skiing forays, but have decided instead to highlight a few things I love about being here.

Icicles.

We get epic icicles that dangle precariously outside our upstairs bathroom south-facing window.  In the winter this means that occasionally I get to see the sun set through the ice.  Seeing an icicle is like beholding a moment suspended in time.  Look – you’ll see what I mean (click any image…anywhere on my blog…for a larger version):

Winter scenes.

With the frequent lake effect snows and preponderance of evergreens, we often have snow-encrusted trees.

After living in Coosawattee, you’d think we’d be just about deered out, but fluffy winter deer are different.  At least to my sensibilities.  I love seeing deer cozied up under some trees or snarfing up whatever greens they can out from under a couple feet of snow.

After about the middle of December, brave (crazy?) souls cart out ice fishing shanties to perch atop frozen lakes to fish for what I presume to be fish sticks. (I don’t really; check here for a good local-to-me ice fishing story.) I wonder at these people who drive four-wheelers and snow mobiles over the ice.  I’ve been nearby when they’ve done it.  I’ve even walked on an ice shelf and a frozen lake, but I like to think I’d be able to hear it crack and run for terra firma.  So, I revel in the evidence that I am saner than someone, at least.  Also, it’s quaint and it makes me smile.  But then, snowmobilers and their tracks make me smile in general, because I know that they’re having good, clean fun (in the moral, old-fashioned sense…not the ecological one).

 

Celebrations.

People everywhere have their special festivities (the Corn Festival and Apple Festival spring to mind), but people here just find an excuse to celebrate.  Sometimes I think they just borrow reasons to celebrate;  I’m not sure a month has passed here without some kind of contrivance to get folks out-of-doors.  This is good, because it gives me things to get out and do in mid-February, instead of sulking inside whining about excessive snow-melt and less-than-excellent ski conditions.

This month’s celebration, which will come as no surprise if you use your context clues, was the Winter WOW!Fest. (Well, let’s make that one of this month’s celebrations…there were at least three more good ones, but I digress.)  If you’re interested in all the festivities, you can peruse the official site, but we went mainly to check out the sculptures and the “Soup’r Bowl.”  Local businesses supported the festival and were honored with ice sculptures.  Teams of snow sculpters competed in a carving competition.  Twelve local restaurants entered soups into a taste-testing event.  Tony’s favorite was Bubba’s Black Diamond Asparagus, a cream-based soup, but mine was Soul Hole’s Crawfish Chowder.  So, next time you’re cooking for us, you’ll know what to make ;)

Considering that more of the snow-pack melted than I would’ve preferred, only to be followed by brutally windy 20-degree high days, the festival worked well to drag us outside.  Plus, I got an elephant ear :)

Things I thought you might like:

There were well over twenty ice sculptures, and I took pictures of almost all of them, but I spared you, and only posted my favorites:

And last, the snow sculptures.  I’m not sure which won, and I’d have a hard time choosing.  Tony’s favorites were the snake – for the idea – and the second fish – for execution.  I really liked the detail on the squirrel, but I loved the last one I posted for its concept (last four pics).