Chilly weather over the weekend helped to provide an ideal atmosphere for a Lake Metroparks Farmpark community event.
Farmpark, which is based in Kirtland, hosted its annual Ice Festival on the evening of Jan. 27 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 28. The event offered an array of activities and attractions involving ice.
Caleb Gust, who is 4 years old, is assisted by his mother, Lora Gust, as he goes down an ice slide at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark Ice Festival on Jan. 28. Looking on, at right, is Paul Gust, who is Caleb’s father and Lora’s husband. The Gust family, which includes Caleb’s brother, 7-year-old Adam, lives in Chagrin Falls. (Bill DeBus – The News-Herald
Visitors of all ages could sit on an ice throne, while young children took turns going down an ice slide.
Talented ice carvers also were on hand to create various sculptures and compete in speed-carving competitions for spectators who gathered in and around Farmpark’s pond pavilion.
In a 10:30 a.m. exhibition on Jan. 28, world champion ice carver Aaron Costic of Elegant Ice Creations took just 22 minutes to transform a block of ice into a mummy.
A display of completed ice sculptures, including a unicorn and a dragon, also were lined up for guests to admire, and pose alongside for cellphone pictures.
Farmpark initially began inviting ice-carving artists to perform at its annual FarmFest event during the summer.
“We thought it would be fun in the middle of July to have an ice sculpture carved, and so we put (the ice carvers) in the pavilion and they attracted a huge crowd for the sculpting,” Farmpark Events Manager Andy McGovern said.
After seeing audience reaction to that initial show, Farmpark leaders began to talk with officials from the city of Medina about its annual winter ice festival.
Eventually, Lake Metroparks Farmpark decided to hold its first ice festival in late January of 2017.
“It kind of went from there and it has grown over the years,” McGovern said. “It’s just kind of a fun family event.”
One family that attended the 2023 Lake Metroparks Farmpark Ice Festival on Jan. 28 was Paul and Lora Gust and their two children, 4-year-old Caleb and 7-year-old Adam.
The Gusts drove to Farmpark, located at 8800 Euclid Chardon Road, from their home in Chagrin Falls.
Lora said she learned about the event from Caleb’s preschool teacher.
“(Caleb and Adam) love playgrounds, and they haven’t been able to play on their playground for a few weeks,” Lora said.
While Lora said Caleb and Adam were looking forward to using Farmpark’s indoor playground, the boys also were taking multiple trips down the ice slide set up outside Farmpark’s Visitors Center.
Lora also said that the family didn’t mind checking out the Ice Festival’s outdoor attractions in 30-degree weather.
“Better snow that rain,” she said.
Luke Hoaglin of Orange Village sits on an ice throne that was on display at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark Ice Festival. Luke, who is 4 years old, visited the festival on Jan. 28 with his parents, Brian and Nichole Hoaglin, and 2-year-old brother Atom Hoaglin. The two-day festival, which began on Jan. 27, offered an array of activities and attractions involving ice. (Bill DeBus – The News-Herald)
Brian and Nichole Hoaglin of Orange Village also were enjoying the Ice Festival on Jan. 28 They brought along their two children, 4-year-old Luke and 2-year-old Atom.
Brian said the Ice Festival was “awesome” and said Luke and Atom thought that watching Costic carve the mummy out of ice was “really cool.”
McGovern noted that the Ice Festival has an agricultural connection because ice harvesting was a big business prior to the advent of modern refrigeration.
“People would go out on a frozen Lake Erie and they would cut blocks of ice,” he said.