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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A celebration of snow and ice

By Donna Lenz Wright/The Week

Photo by Terry Mayer
Blocks of snow are carved with incredible detail.
The fun at the Lake Geneva Winterfest featuring the United States National Snow Sculpting Championship on the Geneva Lake shore at Riviera Park started yesterday with the sculptors beginning their sculpting.

But not to worry-the fun has just begun.

The snow sculptors began etching their 10-foot-high, three-ton snow blocks yesterday morning, and already their masterpieces are taking shape.

They'll keep sculpting through Saturday at 11 a.m. when it's tools-down time-and the rest is up to the judges, including the spectators for the People's Choice Award.

Visitors are encouraged to stroll among the sculptors sculpturing and ask questions if they're curious.

After 14 years of competing nationally, William Brown, member of Team Illinois, the Kilted Snow Weasels, along with George Harnish and Brock McWilliams, has heard them all.

"The most common question-besides, 'What is it?'-is, 'How do you do that?' " he said.

They're happy to explain the steps to spectators. To answer the "What is it?'"question, they show them their model.

No offense to the adults, but their favorite visitors by far are the kids.

"George is a teacher, so is Brock and I'm a stay-at-home dad," Brown explains. "We always encourage them to try it themselves. We tell them to ask their parents for a garbage can and fill it with snow and start experimenting."

The next most popular question is, How do you start a team?

"Most of the northern states have competitions even at the high school level, so we tell them to look into it, get a team of three together and see what they can do."

Plus, there's tons of winter family fun to be had all around at Lake Geneva's 13th annual Winterfest from special events at area businesses to prizes, giveaways and entertainment at the Riviera and along the lakeshore.

All weekend long the Riviera Ballroom, Park and Marketplace will be filled with activity featuring children's snow sculpting, wagon rides, helicopter rides, tethered hot air balloon rides, sleigh on wheel rides, raffles, food and children's entertainment with music and magic by The Woz and sing-alongs with Tom Stanfield on Saturday; and raffles, food, prizes and down home bluegrass and country entertainment on Sunday.

Voting for the People's Choice Award for the sculptures goes on all day Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., with all of the awards being announced beginning at 3 p.m.

Also on Saturday is the winter carnival at the Grand Geneva Resort's Mountain Top Ski Lodge, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., with ski school and ski patrol demonstrations, snow boarding and skiing competitions and a myriad of children's games and snow activities and concluding with a torchlight parade and a grand fireworks display.

For more information on the United States National Snow Sculpting Championship and Winterfest, call the Lake Geneva Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 345-1020 or visit www.lakegenevawi.com.



Winterfest schedule



Jan 30-Feb. 1

Snow-sculpting teams at work at Riviera Park, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.



Feb. 1-3

Bundle Up and Catch the Snowflake-prizes, giveaways, in-store activities and events throughout downtown Lake Geneva shops and restaurants.



Feb. 2

10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Riviera Ballroom, Park, Marketplace and lakefront-children's snow sculpting, wagon rides, helicopter rides, tethered hot air balloon rides, sleigh on wheel rides, raffles for Midwest Express Airline tickets, entertainment, food, gold sponsors information booths and children's entertainment.

10 a.m.-8 p.m.-Winter Carnival at the Grand Geneva Resort, Mountain Top Ski Lodge ski school and ski patrol demonstrations, snow boarding and skiing competitions and a myriad of children's games and snow activities and concluding with a torch light parade and a grand fireworks display.

11 a.m.-Sculpting ends

11 a.m.-The WOZ music and magic

11 a.m.-2 p.m.-People's Choice Award voting

Noon-Tom Stanfield sing-alongs

1 p.m.-The WOZ music and magic

2 p.m.-Tom Stanfield sing-alongs

3 p.m. United States National Snow Sculpting Awards Presentation



Feb. 3

10 a.m.-3 p.m. Riviera Ballroom, Park and Marketplace-finished sculpture viewing, raffle tickets for Midwest Express Airline tickets available just inside door, entertainment, food, gold sponsors information booths and down home bluegrass and country entertainment.

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