MEDINA — It was only six months ago that Drew Rickbrodt first sliced into ice with a chainsaw. Yet here he was competing in the 24th annual Medina Ice Festival this weekend on Public Square.
The ice-carving contest was the first for the 22-year-old Granger Township resident. He trained at Elegant Ice Creations Inc., the Broadview Heights ice-sculpting shop that, along with Main Street Medina, organized the ice festival.
Rickbrodt never planned to become an ice carver. Last summer, he took a break from college and landed a job at Elegant Ice Creations performing manual labor. Then the staff handed him a chainsaw and told him to start cutting.
“I was shocked at first, but I built up my skills and I’m confident now,” Rickbrodt said. “And I get to do cool stuff like this. It’s awesome.”
Hundreds of people attended the ice festival, which included a speed-carving contest Friday evening, individual competition Saturday and team competition Sunday. All carvings will remain displayed on the square through today.
Sean Gramuglia, of Rittman, and his daughter Beatrix, 4, were at the ice show Saturday afternoon. They had never heard of the event and just happened to stumble across it.
“We often go to the Medina Library, and today we saw all this going on and wanted to check it out,” Gramuglia said.
Medina residents Brian and Heather Henigan try to stop by the ice festival every year.
“It was our first date years ago,” Brian Henigan said. “It was the ice festival that did it!”
Kristen Reed, of Seville, was just happy to find a place to park. Empty spaces were hard to find in the municipal garage between East Liberty and East Washington streets or around the square.
“It’s been a few years since I’ve been to the ice festival,” Reed said. “I just wanted to come out and see the sculptures and the artists.”
The outer edges of the square were lined with event sponsors, which included Miller’s Olde Tyme Kettle Corn, Taste of N’Awlins, Advanced Spine Joints and Wellness Center and Hospice of the Western Reserve.
Each sponsor booth or tent included an ice sculpture, created by Elegant Ice Creations, which promoted that sponsor’s business.
Messages may be left for Bob Sandrick at (330) 721-4060.