University of Michigan art student Sarah Chen, of Ann Arbor, works on her entry during the ice-carving competition at the 2017 Aqua Freeze Festival. This year’s event is set for Feb. 17-18 at Blossom Heath Park.

University of Michigan art student Sarah Chen, of Ann Arbor, works on her entry during the ice-carving competition at the 2017 Aqua Freeze Festival. This year’s event is set for Feb. 17-18 at Blossom Heath Park.

File photo by Sean Work


Enter a fairy tale fantasyland at this year’s Aqua Freeze Festival

Annual event returns Feb. 17-18 at Blossom Heath Park

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 5, 2018

 Jeff Wolf, of Shelby Township, works on his entry during the ice-carving competition at the 2017 Aqua Freeze Festival.

Jeff Wolf, of Shelby Township, works on his entry during the ice-carving competition at the 2017 Aqua Freeze Festival.

File photo by Sean Work

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Looking for a winter pick-me-up?

The St. Clair Shores Aqua Freeze Festival is just around the corner with two days of frozen family fun.

Now in its fifth year, this year’s Aqua Freeze Festival is scheduled for Feb. 17-18 at Blossom Heath Park, 24800 Jefferson Ave., with a fairy tale theme. 

As is the case every year, what is available will depend on the weather, organizers say. 

They’re hoping for ice skating and to have a sledding hill, but the hill that had been growing in December and early January melted during recent warmer weather. 

Carved ice creations, a festival standby, will once again be scattered around Blossom Heath Park. And returning from the festival’s first year is a large ice chair sponsored by Michael Agnello Jewelers and Lakeshore Senior Living that will be a great photo stop, co-chair Geri Hofmann said. 

“We hope that they last and the weather keeps them for the whole weekend,” she said. 

The festival will be open 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Feb. 17 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 18. A collegiate ice-carving competition will kick off the festivities 9 a.m.-noon Feb. 17. This year there will also be pony rides, a petting zoo sponsored by Family Eye Care Associates, and carriage rides throughout the day. 

Children can make fairy tale-themed crafts throughout the day, and some fairy tale characters will be available for visits and pictures. There will also be face painting, bounce houses, and a craft and vendor show.

All activities are free. Food and refreshments will be available in the heated tent this year from the St. Isaac Jogues Men’s Club and the Clinton Township Kiwanis, Hofmann said. The Detroit Donut Co. will also be making fresh doughnuts in a food truck. 

There’s free parking in the lot between Wahby Park and Blossom Heath and, for the first time, the city is closing the lanes of Jefferson Avenue closest to the sidewalk on both sides from the park north to 10 Mile Road to create more lanes of parallel parking for visitors. 

There will be a fowling tournament on Saturday, and on Sunday, brave souls will jump into Lake St. Clair during the Polar Plunge at 2 p.m. 

“It’s winter and it’s blah and it’s something fun to do that’s free for the family,” Hofmann said. “We are the last ice show on the east side.”

There will be music from DJ Outrageous Jams 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and again all day Sunday. Line dancers will perform on Saturday afternoon, and the night will end with classic rock from Whiplash 8-10 p.m. 

Mayor Kip Walby said that co-organizers Linda Bologna and Hofmann have done a “marvelous job” on the festival over the past five years.

“We’re a winter climate, so we needed a winter event,” he said, adding that it wouldn’t have been possible without all of their work, along with the support of the Tax Increment Finance Authority, or TIFA. “It’s just a great family event with the ice carving and the Polar Plunge and the different events that they have. The music at night, it just gets people out during the tough part of winter to enjoy that.”

He said he looks forward to the festival every year as a great excuse to get out of the house. Walby said his favorite parts of the event are the ice carvings and the Polar Plunge. 

“It’s a good time to be able to look at the park and see what’s available,” said Bologna. “Maybe they can get to know some of their neighbors.”

For more information, visit www.scsaquafreezefest.com.