Ice Fest 2016
January 27, 2016
Filed under Campus News
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As signs of winter have begun appearing on campus, the annual Ice Fest returned to the University of Akron. Students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered at Buchtel Commons on Tuesday to watch as competitors sculpted, sawed, and blowtorched their frozen creations.
Sponsored by the Culinary Arts Club and the Hospitality Management Department, the event commenced at 8 a.m. with a visit from UA basketball players, and continued with various competitions until midday.
Chef Richard Alford, UA hospitality management associate professor emeritus, founded the UA Ice Fest over a decade ago as an interactive way for the department to reach out to students on campus.
This year the event was basketball-themed with both an ice throne and an additional sculpture of Lebron James carved by Aaron Costic, an Akron alumnus and gold-medalist ice sculptor in the 2006 Winter Olympics.
The festival paid tribute to James by honoring all of the contributions he has made to the University, including the formation of the The Lebron James Family Foundation College of Education.
Students in the Culinary Arts Club used power and hand tools to carve ice sculptures from 300-pound blocks of ice in three hours. Some of the competitors in this event are preparing for the National Ice Carving Association Collegiate Championship in Michigan this weekend.
During the event, a second three-round speed carving competition also took place in which Akron alumni carvers competed in speed carving that began at 11:45 a.m. and was moderated by Costic.
Inside the Student Union, many students and alumni carved fruit and vegetables. Food and ice carving is an integral part of the culinary industry used at many professional and social events.
Claiming first prize for his “Fish on Coral” in the student competition, Dan Johnson received $300 worth of ice carving tools. Brandon Hartel took second place for his “King of Ice” sculpture and Alyson Smith won third place for her “Jackalope” sculpture, receiving $200 and $100 values of tools respectively.
Ranging from elaborately-etched fish to a life-size carving of Olaf, students admired the ice sculptures by making them the subjects of many selfies and social media posts.
“It’s really great to see something unique like this on campus,” said Mike Masciantonio, a sophomore biomedical engineering major. “During the week, school gets boring and the days start to blend together. Having a competition like this gives students a break from their usual schedule and allows them to experience a new thing that they don’t normally see.”