World Snow Sculpting Championship comes to Stillwater.
The cold and snowy days of winter usher in a new season of activities and competitions. Hockey games fill up local arenas, skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes, and snowmobilers head to the trails. This year, there’s a new winter competition in town: the Inaugural World Snow Sculpting Championship.
The event will be held in Stillwater starting January 18, running through January 23. Sculptors from across the world will come to the birthplace of Minnesota to compete. Many spectators are also expected. “Lake Geneva, Wis., has held a similar competition and had about 60,000 visitors,” says Robin Anthony, Stillwater Chamber of Commerce executive director. “We’re expecting a lot of people.”
The event begins on January 18 with a sculpting demonstration, which will be open to the public. On January 19, teams begin sculpting at 9 a.m. That evening, the opening ceremonies will be held, and all of the teams will be introduced. Tickets will be sold for this day.
Teams, compromised of three members, can work on sculptures at all hours of the day with the exception of January 21. Teams can work as late as 3 a.m. that day to ensure they get finishing touches on their sculptures. They must be done by 2 p.m. on January 22.
The competition will be judged by the sculptors themselves, but there is also a people’s choice category. Spectators are encouraged to vote for their favorite sculpture.
Many countries around the world compete in snow sculpting, including those with traditionally warm climates like Mexico and Argentina.
On January 22, the closing ceremonies will be held at 4 p.m., and the winners of both the judged contest and the people’s choice award will be announced. At 7 p.m., the World’s Coolest Block Party begins. This will be held at the Water Street Inn as a way to celebrate the event.
Anthony expects this event to be a huge boost to Stillwater and the local economy. “Our restaurants and businesses typically have a rough first quarter,” Anthony says. “This will help boost that and turn Stillwater into a year-round destination.”
Stillwater was chosen for the event because of the town’s atmosphere and experience hosting events. “They wanted a quaint tourist town that is cold enough to have snow,” Anthony says. “We’re exactly that.”
The chamber of commerce is working with Green Acres to get a snow-making machine. The entire week before the event will be used for making snow for the teams. The snow will be put into large 10-foot-tall forms in North Lowell Park located next to P.D. Pappy’s. “The snow needs to be firm for carving,” Anthony says. “Volunteers and sponsors will get inside the forms and stomp the snow down to firm it up.”
If people want to volunteer their time to help with the snow or other event-related tasks, or if area businesses want to be an event sponsor, they’re asked to contact the chamber of commerce office at 651.439.4001. Readers can also find more info at greaterstillwaterchamber.com.
There is definitely excitement regarding this event even though it’s no easy task putting it on, and Anthony knows the community is up for the challenge. “It’ll be a collaborative effort with the city, local business, the community and civic organizations,” Anthony says. “All to bring a worldwide event to Stillwater, Minn.!”