The ice will be flying in the Village of Yorkville Park when the Bloor-Yorkville BIA hosts its eighth annual IceFest celebrations Feb. 23 and 24.
The BIA’s annual winter celebration brings some 20,000 visitors down to the area each year to witness ice carving demonstrations, an ice sculpture competition, entertainment, toys and treats.
The biggest draw is always the ice sculptures, with top artists coming from all over to demonstrate their skills.
“We change the theme every year and this year’s theme is ‘wonderful and whimsical,’” said Briar de Lange, Bloor-Yorkville BIA executive director. “The park is going to turn into an enchanted forest with 35,000 pounds of ice going into the event.”
Visitors can watch the sculptors at work, either in the competition or in other demonstrations. While IceFest technically begins Saturday, Feb. 23, the ice carving demonstrations will begin Friday, Feb. 22.
“The ice sculptures make the whole event quite spectacular,” de Lange said. “We have an idea what we can expect to see, but what comes from the competition is always a surprise and all the sculptures are just fantastic.”
Visitors will be encouraged to vote on their favourite entries in the Sassafraz Ice Carving Competition from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Glisse on Ice will perform an on-street skating show daily, and children will be able to bring home toys encased in ice.
While many of the weekend’s events are free, photos with an ice sculpture will be sold for $5, with proceeds going to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Volunteers will be soliciting on-site donations for the cause as well.
“We have a group of retailers who will be donating a percentage of their sales that weekend to the Heart and Stroke Foundation,” de Lange said. “They’re a great organization and we’re happy to support them.”
Several restaurants in the Bloor-Yorkville area will also be offering hot drinks, hearty food and snacks.
For more information on the weekend’s festivities, including locations and times for the various events, visit www.bloor-yorkville.com/icefest