By Elaine Kish
For four days in February the square of historic Medina, Ohio will be transformed into a gallery of frozen art. Leading off the Medina Ice Festival festivities on Friday evening, February 16, will be the speed carving competitions at 5:30 pm, followed by the lighting of the Fire & Ice Tower at 7:00 pm. It’s the best of both hot and cold as a tower stacked high with ice is stoked with wood and set ablaze.
“Although some artists are local, many come from Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York to participate,” says Peggy Costic, event coordinator from Elegant Ice Creations, Inc. A local favorite is her son, Aaron Costic, a national and international carver. In the past few years, carvings of Olaf from Frozen, trolls, a moose, eagle, Santa Claus, alien, Thomas the Train, angel, swan and wolf have appeared out of the ice.
On Saturday, the individual carving competition starts at 1:00 pm. Participants have 3 hours to complete whatever sculpture they choose, starting with a 300-pound block of ice, 20” wide and 40” tall. After the final team carving event on Sunday is finished, there will be approximately 80 carvings displayed around the square, sponsored by individual merchants. Although it is interesting to watch exactly how the artists go about creating these sculptures in the daylight, it is equally as exciting to see their art come to life in the dark using multi-colored LED lights.
As you stroll around the square both during the day and in the evening, you will surely want to stop for a warm drink, dinner, or at least a snack. Restaurants including Amuse Euro Bistro, Marie’s Café, Eli’s Kitchen, PJ Marley’s, Main Street Café, House of Hunan, Courthouse Pizzeria, and Honey Bee Bakery will be open extra hours to serve you. For a portable snack, Something’s Popping has popcorn in a myriad of flavors, or for an ice cream treat, Chill Artisan Ice Cream is the ticket. You can pick up a special treat for your pet at One Lucky Dog Bakery.
Stop in at one of the many boutique and gift shops in the area and warm up while you check out their unusual and one-of-a-kind items. Second Sole features athletic apparel and shoes, and is located right on the square. Few people realize that Medina is the home of Root Candles and you can visit the outlet store to stock up on your favorite scents. There are numerous antique stores, furniture shops, jewelry stores, art galleries, pottery and book stores to browse in the area.
While you are in Medina, take time to see some of the area attractions. Castle Noel is located in a former church and known as “America’s Largest Year Round Indoor Christmas Entertainment Attraction.” It includes a collection of Christmas movie memorabilia, as well as Christmas displays from New York City store windows. Allow enough time to take the tour and browse their gift shop. Alien Vacation mini 3D golf will give the family a fun break out of the cold.
All players wear 3D glasses as they make their way through numerous challenging obstacles, complete with picture opportunities along the way, Owner Dana Klaus explains, “Although we started out with 18 holes of golf, one day an alien spaceship landed near the building and from that point on, there were 19 holes.” Visit the Toy and Train Museum on the second floor of Ormandy’s Trains on Public Square. You might see one of your favorite childhood toys there.
For local history buffs, the Medina Town Hall & Engine House Museum is located in the bright red building on Public Square. It houses numerous artifacts from Medina business, as well as the history of Medina from its beginning in 1817, complete with photographs of the village and its changes throughout history.
With so much to see in the area, you might want to consider an overnight stay. If so, The Spitzer House Bed and Breakfast is a good choice. Originally a Victorian house built in 1890, it has several rooms to accommodate you.
For more information about the Medina Ice Festival, see their website www.mainstreetmedina.com.
Photos courtesy of Medina County CVB and Loucinda Main.
Ice Festival Medina