The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

‘Festival of Ice’ met with warm reception

This past Tuesday, many students may have been surprised to see a flurry of activity in the JRC courtyard. Initially, most of them didn’t seem to know what was happening.

“I didn’t know there was anything going on. I saw the ice sculpting at lunch and just thought it was a nifty little exhibit,” said Eileen Daly ’14.

Ice chips fly everywhere as ice sculptor Bill Gordish creates an iced coffee mug for Tuesday's dinner at the Dining Hall. Gordish has over 30 years of ice carving experience, cutting an average of about 45 blocks a year - Aaron Barker

However, as the day progressed more students became aware of the unique event taking place. The event was the “Festival of Ice,” an ice-sculpting competition organized by the South-East Iowa chapter of the American Culinary Federation, headed by our resident Executive Chef, Scott Turley.

Experienced ice-carvers held demonstrations during lunch and a competition ran from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The competition featured three artists, two of whom are currently culinary students at the Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, IA.

The artists cite their reasons for competing as a willingness to represent their school, and an enjoyment of art creation.

“[Turley] wanted some carvers so I offered to do it. … I just really like to build things with my hands and tearing apart ice with a chainsaw is a way of creating,” said Indian Hills student Ben Froah.

Froah’s fellow student Ben Millard echoes this affinity for creating art, noting the powerful machinery necessary in ice sculpting.

“Sharp tools—you just have to be able to see everything in three dimensions, you can’t just cut along the lines,” Millard said. “It’s actually just kind of racks your brain but it’s a lot of fun.”

Tuesday was a particularly warm day for an ice sculpting competition and many spectators wondered why the artists were investing so much time and effort into masterpieces that would quickly melt away.

“I make art and it’s pretty permanent but these guys are just making something that’s constantly melting,” said Matt Mertes ’12, an art major. “Its pretty intense—I’m sure you’d be attached to your project.”
Millard, however, is not too worried about the fleeting nature of his art.
“I mean, I can just make another one,” Millard said.

Bill Gordish, a professional carver and one of the judges, echoed his nonchalant attitude.

“You know that [it’s going to melt] going in, and if you’re getting paid for it its just like doing any job you get paid for and walking away from it,” Gordish said.

Alongside this event, Grinnell College Dining Services also organized a special theme for the Marketplace dinner. The dinner, called “Fire and Ice,” presented special entrees for the students of the College.

“[It was] a play on the theme with the food. … We have teriyaki grilled tilapia and right next to it is sushi, at the Honor G grill we have fried ice cream … that’s your fire and ice,” Turley said.

Presentation cook Michael Fiebelkorn tosses some carne asada onto the grill at Tuesday dinner as a part of the Dining Hall's "Festival of Fire and Ice." Beginning with an ice carving demonstration and competition, the evening culminated in a display of the sculptures and a meal featuring fiery and icy cuisine - Aaron Barker

During the dinner, the Dining Hall was bedecked with “Winter Wonderland” decorations including fairy lights, bobsleds and elaborate ice sculptures. The extensive menu proved extremely popular as was evident by the unusually long lines at each station. Some students wanted to see events like this occur more often in the dining hall.

Turley explained that the motivations behind the event did not just concern the extraordinary entrees.

“We wanted to have an event kind of centrally located in the state to have some ice carving happen here,” Turley said. “In conjunction with that we wanted to have a special dinner to the student body too, that’s why we did it. I also wanted for the culinary students from Indian Hills to be able to come here [and for Grinnellians to] interact with some of the other college kids.”

The event definitely elicited positive reactions from the student body. Though many weren’t fully aware of what the festival entailed, upon learning about it their enthusiasm quickly grew. “It’s really nice that something this random is going on, it shows that the school wants to interact with the community and that’s really cool,” said Caitlin Patterson, a prospective student visiting the College.

The effort exerted by the culinary staff was appreciated by the students, many of whom left with only one complaint—that there was too much to eat.

“Everybody was excited and got so much food, but the thing is you couldn’t get everything you wanted because then you’d just burst,” said Corina Varlan ’14. “I think everybody really appreciated it.”

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *