MEDINA — Sun screen and short-sleeve shirts were en vogue during last year’s Medina Ice Festival, as temperatures hovered around 60 degrees.
As fast as master carvers sculpted ice creations, they melted before their eyes.
That wasn’t the case on the first day of the festival Friday, as the temperature was much colder for the 24th annual event. A couple thousand patrons showed up on Public Square, largely to watch the lighting of the Fire & Ice Tower.
Aaron Costic, owner of Elegant Ice Creations in Broadview Heights, has been working his “magic” for years to entertain festival crowds with the tower.
Sixteen, 300-pound blocks of ice were stacked up in four walls and filled with several wood pallets that are set on fire, much to the delight of the crowd. The flames rise as high as 30 feet in the air and eventually melt the ice walls around it. The fire lasts about a half-hour.
Three twirlers, who lit the tips of their batons with fire, added to the event this year.
In the speed-carving competition, Matt Haas of New York upset Costic, a Medina High School graduate.
Haas, a wood carver by day, competes in eight to 12 ice festivals a year. He loved beating Costic, whom he refers to as a mentor.
“I like coming here every year,” Haas said. “It’s low key. I love speed carving.”
He said he’s normally at a disadvantage against Costic, who has five times more ice-carving instruments. Haas used a chain saw and a die grinder to create a seal holding three blocks of ice on his nose.
Competition picks up 1 to 4 p.m. today for the individual competition on the square.
The team competition is noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Ice sculptures will remain on display throughout Monday around the Historic District.
Main Street Medina and Excalibur Auto Body were Friday’s main sponsors.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.