Monday, February 4, 2013

IceFest Fun

One of the cooler (see what I did there?) things that goes on around here is the annual IceFest downtown.

Local businesses and organizations sponsor ice sculptures, largest of which are "carved live" on the first two evenings of the festival. There are several events over the weekend, including a chili cookoff, "polar plunge dunk" for charity, scavenger hunt, fireworks, block party, cake decorating contest (get it - "icing"), story walk, ballet performance, food and craft vendors, dance party, pancake breakfast, and a 40-foot ice slide.

Peeper's class (and several of the other downtown-ish preschools and daycares) were supposed to go out for a walk to see the sculptures on Friday, and I was signed up to go along, but they cancelled, because it was just too cold out. I don't think it ever got above the mid-20s all day.

When I told Peeper about it, I promised her that "if your teachers decide not to go, I'll take you to look at them when I pick you up." Yeah, that was before I knew about that 25-degree thing. But, a Mama's promise is a promise, so I bundled us up and we took a walk around.

This T-Rex was sponsored by the children's art studio.


This throne is there every year and is pretty much universally known as "The Big Chair." There's always a line of families waiting to take photos of their kids sitting on it. It's a Thing.

On Saturday, Peeper and I went to the art studio for a while, and then met up with MommyA and "Baby"J for the ballet, sculpture viewing and dinner. The ballet was Swan Lake Fantasy, which was some short excerpts from Swan Lake, plus another short ballet.

Afterward, we spotted these guys, tucked away in a corner. J said, "Nutcrackers! Like Peeper has!"

Then we stood in line (again, in our case) for The Big Chair, and got photos of both girls on it. The cool night-time lighting is new this year. The colors changed from green to red to blue, I believe.

Then we went to dinner at the little Mexican restaurant on the square. This is pretty much how it went.

Not shown is when Peeper hugged J, and they ended up toppling over and Peeper cracked her head on either the floor or the corner of the booth. I knew right away that a kiss and some ice wasn't going to fix it (although I tried), so I ended up nursing her in that chair you see her sitting in here. There's a wall behind it, blocking the view of the restaurant, but what you don't see in this photo is that this table is in the corner, in front of two giant windows, one of which points to Main Street, just a bit down from The Big Chair. So, pretty much everyone in town walked by while I she was nursing. I thought we might have been getting a few looks, or maybe they were just checking out the crowd in the restaurant, to see if they could get a table.

At one point, Peeper looked like she was about to doze off, and I said to A, "I don't know if it's the lack of sleep plus the goody, or the head injury," and Peeper unlatched just enough to say (muffled up against me, and sort of under my shirt, "It's the head injury."

After dinner, we walked back to the theater, where we were both parked, checked out some more sculptures on the way, let the girls "ring around" (That means run around in circles, Peeper's a little confused about "Ring Around the Rosies") in a couple of different places, and then they both rode the ice slide.

I was nervous as hell about it, although every kid in town rides it every year, and it's only about a four-foot drop - but you know me. J was nervous about it, but Peeper jumped right on and they both did great. A and I split up, I got both girls on their sleds and she waited at the bottom to "catch" them. By the time I got down from the "launching pad" after watching J slide, Peeper had run almost all the way back to me, and was trying to climb back up for another turn!

I may have sort of led her to believe that we'd go back today and do it again, but somehow that just didn't happen. I hope she doesn't ask about it tomorrow, because it's closed now!

Somehow we managed to not get any pictures or video of them sliding, and I'm really bummed about that, since it was Peeper's first time to do something that's likely to become one of the great traditions of her childhood.

As with so many of our downtown events, IceFest is something that everybody comes out for, young, old and in between. It was bitterly cold, but you just bundle up, puts the kids in their snowpants, and head out, because it's the thing to do, and everyone will be there.

There are a lot of things about the area where we live that leave something to be desired (especially for families like ours) but it's things like this that make me kind of love our little burg.

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