Browse nearly thirty ice sculptures throughout downtown at Ice Fest on February 12

Enjoy nearly thirty sparkling ice sculptures on display throughout the streets of downtown, stores open late to warm up and shop, and burn barrels with cozy fires during the Alpena Ice Fest on Saturday, February 12, 2022 that starts off at Mich-e-kewis Park and moves to Downtown Alpena into the evening.

“The idea of an Alpena Ice Fest emerged when we (Thunder Bay Arts) started brainstorming programming for our 2022 season (our 50th Anniversary year as the one of the oldest continuous arts councils in the State of Michigan) during Covid circumstances, especially not knowing what would be feasible during winter months.  We needed to plan ahead.  We needed to get creative and thought why not plan for cultural experiences outdoors with activities centered around our Bi-Path sculptures, even in the heart of winter,” said Tim Kuehnlein, one of the organizers of the event with Thunder Bay Arts.

“Seeing what other communities do with ice sculptures and festivals, we thought we can do that!  We have cold.  We have snow.  We’ll get the ice, and we love sculptures!”

With a grant from the Comstock Fund at First Congregational UCC and a donation from Alpena Alcona Area Credit Union, planning began for the event at Mich-e-ke-wis Park that hearkened back to Alpena’s Winter Carnival of years past. Community organizations quickly jumped on board to host winter activities during the festival such as ski demos, a sledding hill (built by City of Alpena DPW), a huge fire (built by the City of Alpena Fire Department) husky dog meet-and-greets, and prepackaged smores.

“Just the suggestion of an Ice Fest made people smile, reminisce and jump on board to make it all happen…. the “snow train” just kept gaining momentum.,” Kuehnlein continued. ” We were off to the start of feasible festival, free and open to the pubic – a day of fun (arts, culture, and outdoor activities) for family and friends in the heart of winter.”

Here’s how to enjoy Downtown Alpena during the Ice Festival:

1. Take a photo in the giant ice throne in Culligan Plaza. Enjoy being ice royalty in the heart of downtown by sitting in the ice throne sponsored by the Alpena Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Downtown Development Authority.

2. Stroll through downtown and view nearly thirty ice sculptures on display. Bundle up and enjoy ice sculptures throughout the downtown sponsored by local businesses and professionally carved by Ice Creations out of Napolean, OH. Complete a scavenger hunt through downtown and be entered to win $100 in Downtown Dollars. Complete and turn your completed form in the dropbox near Thunder Bay Winery in the Center Building by 7 pm on Saturday! Forms can be picked up at Mich-e-kewis Park, Thunder Bay Winery, or Thunder Bay Arts Gallery or downloaded here.

  1. Alpena CVB & DDA- Ice Throne
  2. Nicolet Bank
  3. Red Brick Tap & Barrel
  4. Real Estate One
  5. Salon 125
  6. Cedar & Threads
  7. Family Enterprise
  8. Wolverine State Credit Union (Pocket Park)
  9. Thunder Bay Arts
  10. Alpena Agency
  11. Thunder Bay Winery
  12. Art in the Loft
  13. The Fresh Palate
  14. Glik’s
  15. Prattscape
  16. State Farm Sam Rumbles
  17. Rusty Petunias Marketplace
  18. Bolenz Jewelry
  19. Myers Fashions Etc.
  20. Local Basket Case
  21. Alpena Furniture
  22. Joshua Tree Studio & Spa
  23. Wallace Firm & The Rabbit Hole
  24. Cabin Creek Coffee
  25. Besser Museum
  26. Up North Properties
  27. My Michigan Health

3. Browse downtown stores that will be open late until 7 pm. As you peruse the ice sculptures on display, stop in the following stores to warm up and see what’s new!

4. Cozy up near burn barrels– with a warm beverage or drink from the Social District. Burn barrels will be in Culligan Plaza & the Pocket Park so stop by and warm up! Grab a glass of mulled wine, beer, or cocktail from one of eight downtown establishments that are part of the Social District and enjoy next to the warm fire.

5. Unwind at a class at Joshua Tree Studio & Spa. Check out downtown’s newest yoga studio and enjoy a class or demo during their day of events planned as part of the Ice Fest.

6. Enjoy live music from the Alpena Street Performers. From 6-8 pm, enjoy live musicians at HopSide Brewery, Mango’s Tequila Bar, Thunder Bay Winery, and Thunder Bay Arts.

“I think we can all attest to the fact that we need a little something like this – perhaps a reminder of past moments of joy, a day of winter fun and community in the moment, and a vision for what a creative future holds,” said Kuehnlein.

We hope to see you in Downtown Alpena on Saturday, February 12, 2022!

To view a full lineup of the day’s festivities, visit here.

Anne Gentry is the Executive Director of the Alpena Downtown Development Authority. Check out Downtown Alpena on social media and stay up to date with upcoming events downtown. Historic photos in this blog post were provided by the Special Collections Department at the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library.

4 thoughts on “Browse nearly thirty ice sculptures throughout downtown at Ice Fest on February 12

  1. Thanks for sharing the beautiful history of downtown Alpena – and my best wishes for the continued beauty of the area. I always love visiting in the winter AND then especially in summer. I like Alpena’s downtown and the beautiful waterfront – both the river and the bay area. You folks are fortunate. Enjoy!!


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