File photo by Patricia O'Blenes

St. Clair Shores prepares to chill with Aqua Freeze Festival

Festival to be held Jan. 14-15 at Blossom Heath

By: Alyssa Ochss | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 9, 2023


ST. CLAIR SHORES — The Aqua Freeze Festival is coming back this year with all the things people love and something a little new.

Henry Bowman, St. Clair Shores Parks and Recreation Director, has been the festival organizer for about four years now and said they’ve had pretty good crowds. He expects about 20,000 people to come through the festival in two days.

Bowman said when they first took it over, it was the first year of COVID and the festival was the only thing open in town.

“All the bars and restaurants were closed except for us because we’re a pure outdoor event,” Bowman said. “We had food trucks, we had beer sales and we had all the ice sculptures. It was a really, really nice event.”

Linda Bologna, previous co-organizer of the Aqua Freeze Festival, said she and her friend Geri Hoffman came up with the idea.

“My friend Geri Hoffman and I were trying to figure out something fun to do for the people in the city and to have a family event of some kind, so we brainstormed for a while and finally came up with an Aqua Freeze,” Bologna said.

Bologna said the city was very supportive of the festival when they first brought it up.

“They went along with it right away,” Bologna said. “The mayor, Kip Walby, was very happy that we were coming up with some kind of an idea and just had to find the funds and the things to do.”

Bologna said there’s something for everyone at the festival and that there are many things kids can enjoy.

“It’s a good thing for families to get out and do something in the winter,” Bologna said. “There (are) beautiful ice sculptures, they can take pictures near them, they can do any of the activities.”

This year, the festival will have food trucks, ice sculptures and a new display, Bowman said.

“We have new this year, Z’s Pub is sponsoring our fire and ice tower,” Bowman said. “So they’re going to be building a tower probably about eight feet tall, and we will be lighting it on fire. It’s made out of ice, so it’s going to be (an) on-fire chimney. It’s going to be something real different.”

Other sponsors of the event include Petitpren Inc. and BAS Security Systems, Inc., who are sponsoring the live music, FirstState Bank, who is sponsoring the horse drawn wagons, and many more.

The festival takes place from noon to 9 p.m. Jan. 14 and from noon to 6 p.m. Jan. 15. It will be held at Blossom Heath Park between Nine Mile and 10 Mile roads, off of Jefferson Avenue, and is open to all people. No registration is required.

“You just need to show up and be ready to have fun,” Bowman said.