Akron ice sculptors concoct cool ideas for Ice Fest 2012


When chainsaws met ice at The University of Akron's Ice Fest 2012 on Jan. 18, a 1,200-pound rendition of UA's beloved mascot Zippy sporting a chef’s hat, as well as a unicorn, sliding penguins, a juggling dog, leaping fish and other creatures emerged from frozen blocks.

UA ice carvers take their show on the road
Saturday, Jan. 21, noon
Frozen River Festival
Falls River Square
2085 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls
Friday, Jan. 27, noon
National Collegiate Ice Carving Competition
730 S. Main St. Frankenmuth, Mich.
Sunday, Feb. 5
Elegant Ice Creations Ice Carving Competition, 11 a.m.
Maritime Museum
125 Meigs St., Sandusky
Saturday Feb. 18, 1 p.m.
Elegant Ice Creations Ice Carving Competition
Downtown Medina
Friday, Feb. 24, noon
Winter Fest 2012 National Ice Carving Association
Downtown Perrysburg
Sunday, March 4, noon
2012 Market Garden Brewery & Distillery
West 25th St., Cleveland

Hospitality Management student Mary King shows Kenny Crumpton of Fox 8 News in the Morning how to carve a melon.

Student and alumni ice sculptors sharpened their talents and blades months in advance for the annual festival, a celebration of the culinary art form synonymous with UA's hospitality management program. This year's event took place both inside and outside the Student Union, where outside temperatures hovered in the 20s.

Among those on hand for the frosty festivities was Kenny Crumpton of Fox 8 News in the Morning. Crumpton covered Ice Fest 2012 live throughout his "Kickin' it with Kenny" segments. More pics.

Ice flew fast

Ice Fest 2012 got under way with an ice-carving competition during which members of the University's ice carving team and Garde Manger Club — both part of the UA Summit College Hospitality Management program — carved ice blocks into a variety of whimsical sculptures. Alumnus and 2006 Winter Olympics gold medal ice sculptor Aaron Costic carved a 2,000-pound ice throne on which event attendees sat or seized photo opportunities.

Hospitality management alumnus Andy Zamagias carves a Jamaican hummingbird, which placed first in the event's freestyle competition.

The ice carving show gained momentum as UA alumni master carver Greg Butauski, founder of the World Food Sculpting Association; Ken Diederich, executive director of the National Ice Carving Association; and Costic competed in a speed-carving match. Costic placed first, sending him to a final speed round against his mentor Chef Richard Alford, associate professor emeritus of hospitality management. The contest ended in a tiebreaker with Costic's carving of a peace dove and Alford's self-portrait.

More coverage

Alumnus Andy Zamagias placed first in Ice Fest's 2012 freestyle competition with his ice sculpture of a Jamaican hummingbird. Contest runner-up was undergraduate hospitality management student Geroge Niemoeller. Alumnus Erik Freay placed third. The winners received trophies along with gift certificates from Bar Cento / Bier Markt / Speakeasy in Cleveland.

Throughout the event, students demonstrated tallow and vegetable carving techniques inside the Student Union, near Starbucks.

The University's Ice Carving Team members travel across the country competing in ice sculpting contests and showcasing their talents at special events. Since its 1994 inception, the team has won four national ice carving competitions.

The final speed-carving round, between UA alumnus Aaron Costic, right, and Chef Richard Alford, ended in a tie. Here they pose with Alford's sculpture, a self-portrait.

Most recently, the sculptors took third place in the Jan. 7 National Ice Carving Association Invitational tournament in Holland, Mich., and took first, second, third, fourth and fifth places at the National Ice Carving Association Amateur Competition in Watervliet, Mich. Second-year hospitality management student George Niemoeller of Barberton placed first in the amateur contest with his wild pheasant sculpture.

Scholarships help carve careers

For students pursuing careers in ice carving, two $1,000 scholarships are available.

Elegant Ice Creations of Broadview Heights, owned by UA alumni master carver and Olympic gold medal ice sculptor Aaron Costic, offers a $1,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient in the form of ice carving tools.
Bonnie and Eric Hilner also offer a 1,000 scholarship to assist students pursing ice carving careers. The scholarship will be paid directly to the selected UA scholar in the form of ice carving tools.
For application criteria, contact Aaron Costic at aaron@elegantice.com. The application deadline for both scholarships is March 1, 2012.

Media contact: Denise Henry, 330-972-6477 or henryd@uakron.edu.