Ice Fest hot in popularity

Local News

ARGENTA, Ill. (WCIA) – We may be about to hit the heat of summer, but for this town, winter brings one of the town’s hottest events.

Many people brave the cold to hit the road, and see how a park is transformed into a wintery art display.

In the dead of winter, it’s easy to stay inside, turn on your tv, and try to think warmer thoughts.

After a while though, Dawn Decker says that’s got to get old.

“They’re getting cabin fever, they’ve been stuck inside their homes for so much,” said Decker.

That’s why she and her group, Argenta in Motion, decided to create an event so enchanting, people would brave the cold to see it for themselves.

It’s now known as the Argenta Ice Festival.

“Anywhere from 30 to 65 sculptures that line the walkway at the park, you have live demonstrations, there’s people milling about, you can smell the fair food,” said Decker.

“It’s just a great family event that’s got something for everybody,” said Aaric Kendall…the man behind the magic.

“They just can’t realize how we take the block, cut it apart, and basically rebuild it into a larger structure…and then sculpt it into something that’s life-like,” said Kendall.

The Argenta native took his ice-carving craft all the way to the Olympics, returning home with a gold medal.​​​​​​

Today, he still takes his talents all over the world.

“I’ve carved in Italy, Japan, Canada, Alaska, lots of the states on the east coast,” said Kendall.

Decker says it doesn’t matter what the thermometer reads…there are always plenty of people to witness his work.

“They’re hardcore,” said Decker. “They’re going to come out because they want to have a good time, and they don’t care if they have to throw on a jacket.”

She says it’s something special that sets the town apart.

It’s special for Kendall too, to come back to carve at home, in Our Town Argenta.

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