Artists sculpt ice in Fairbanks

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2008

FAIRBANKS - The 18th annual World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks continues today as sculptors from around the world create well over 100 works of ice in the city's Ice Park.

Tula Belton / The Associated Press
Tula Belton / The Associated Press

The event started Tuesday and runs through March 23.

This year's theme is "Celebrating the North: The International Polar Year 2007-2008."

The event also includes a four-acre Kids Park with a maze, slides, tunnels, a larger-than-life polar bear and other whimsical structures - all made entirely from ice.

The ice is harvested from a pond with a forklift. It is clear but glows a natural pale blue. Lights and paint are also used to color some of the creations, which are carved with chainsaws and other tools.

The competition for sculptures made from single 5-by-8-foot blocks of ice began at 9 a.m. Tuesday and ends with judging 60 hours later on Thursday at 9 p.m.

A second competition, for works made from up to 10 blocks of ice measuring 4 by 6 feet each, begins Sunday and ends with the judging 132 hours later on March 7.

Some teams work around the clock, and the public can watch the works in progress whenever the park is open. Water is used to glue the blocks together; some of the sculptures will stand 25 feet high. All the finished pieces remain on view until the festival ends. Shades are erected to protect the works from direct sunlight.

Details about the event are at http://www.icealaska.com, which includes a live Web cam.



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