Franklin On Ice celebrates 20 years

A professional ice carvers works during last year's Franklin On Ice. A 30-minute timed ice carving competition will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday in Fountain Park. Franklin On Ice will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year.

While is traditional to mark one’s 20th anniversary with china, this weekend Franklin On Ice will celebrate its 20 years with ice, chili, and more.

Professional carvers from DiMartino Ice are the main event Saturday. They will transform lifeless blocks of ice into beautiful works of art starting at 10 a.m. in Fountain Park. Carvers will work until 2:30 p.m.

Spectators may watch the work in progress and take cameras for numerous photo opportunities, Ronnie Beith, Franklin’s events and marketing coordinator, said.

A 30-minute timed ice carving competition will be held at 3 p.m. where spectators can vote for their favorite sculpture.

“The competition is great fun and everybody enjoys that,” she said.

There are several special ice sculptures planned for this year’s festival, according to Beith.

Plans call for the recreation of Cinderella’s carriage from the very first Franklin On Ice, Beith said.

The original carriage was featured as an entry in the 1996 festival which was a sanctioned National Ice Competition Association event sponsored by the former Franklin Club.

In fact, Beith added, carver Robert Higareda, who was involved in the original piece, will reprise his role and work on this year’s carriage.

The carriage will include seating so festival-goers can engage in some enchanted photo opportunities, Beith said.

The ice slide will again make an appearance, according to Beith.

“It has been such a popular piece,” she said and added that organizers plan to keep the slide as part of the event so different youngsters can enjoy it each year.

Another work of ice art will be a large piece dedicated to the festival’s 20th anniversary, Beith said.

The ice thrown will be modeled after a Russian castle and there will be Valentine’s Day themed pieces, she said.

Other pieces will include dinosaurs and a special carving dedicated to the plight of elephants, Beith said.

Seven carvers are slated to participate in the event. They include Ernie DiMartino, Robert Higareda, Joe DiMartino, Jared McAlister, Mitch Shrader, Steve Parson and Thomas Arone.

Beith expressed admiration for the team from DiMartino Ice and said it is evident that the carvers “really care about their work and the community.”

Beith added that the sculptures will be lighted so visitors could enjoy an evening stroll through beautifully lit Fountain Park.

Other activities and events are scheduled in addition to the main icy attractions.

A chili cook-off will be held from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 1255 Liberty St., Franklin.

Beith said the cook-off promised to be “great this year” with 11 businesses competing for the first place ribbon.

Magic shows sponsored by the Franklin Fine Arts Council will be held at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at 1255 Liberty St. DeBence Antique Music World will offer special tour rates.

The Franklin Public Library will feature activities for children from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free make and take penguin pins for the kids will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Neverending Stories.

Free hot chocolate and coffee will be available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Olde Liberty and Joyride Acoustic will perform from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Bossa Nova Caf.

Several businesses will hold sales and other incentives throughout the weekend, according to Beith.

At the Barrow

The Barrow-Civic Theatre will host an art showcase and performances during Franklin On Ice weekend.

The Nature Art Showcase organized by the Council on Greenways & Trails will be held today and Saturday in the theater’s main corridor.

An opening reception is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. today and the showcase will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.

The artwork that will be displayed is very impressive and ranges from paintings, photography, sculpture in aluminum and woodworking all representing the region’s natural resources and outdoor recreation, according to the council.

There are 11 artists showing 28 pieces.

Beith said there will be “a lot of beautiful art work on display and for sale.”

“We’re very excited about that,” she added.

The council will also be selecting one artist and one or more of their creations to replicate into a limited edition of keepsakes that will be produced and sold by the council. The announcement of the selection will be made during the opening reception today.

A Keeping It Real Cabaret Lounge performance is scheduled for 8 p.m. today in the Barrow’s Little Theatre.

International guitar duo Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb take to the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Barrow. The duo’s diverse repertoire of original and arranged music consists of stunning guitar instrumentals as well as vocal duets, giving them wide appeal and strong audience connection. Influenced by Americana, jazz, country western and classical music, their unique style of guitar playing is largely built upon the thumb-picking techniques pioneered by guitar greats Merle Travis and Chet Atkins.

With icy works of art and a full schedule of entertainment, Franklin on Ice’s 20th anniversary promises to be a grand celebration.

“It’s going to be great weekend,” Beith said. “There are lots of great things going on.”

Beith said earlier in the week the weather outlook appeared promising with temperatures forecast in the 30s and cloudy skies expected. She said she hoped the forecast would hold true, because sunny skies and wet weather would not be favorable for the icy artworks.

While Mother Nature might or might not cooperate, Beith has had the cooperation of many to help get the festival together.

“There are some many people involved – the volunteers, donors, ice sculptors and others,” she said. “It all works together so very well.”