The Return of Carmel’s Festival of Ice and Winter Games

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December 2021

The organizers of Carmel’s Festival of Ice and Winter Games are thrilled to announce that these events will return to the Arts & Design District and Carter Green this January and February!

While the ice carving component of the Festival of Ice was held last year during the pandemic, the other exciting events that complement the ice carving contests were canceled as were the Carmel Winter Games that take place on the ice rink.

Carmel’s Festival of Ice

I spoke with Meg Gates Osborne, founder of MEG & Associates and Carmel event manager, about what attendees and participants can look forward to after the new year.

The 2022 Festival of Ice

Carmel’s Festival of Ice features carving demonstrations by professional ice carvers on Saturday, Jan. 8 in the Arts & Design District.

“We have eight professional [ice] carvers coming in from all over the Midwest for the weekend,” Osborne said. “We’ll have eight locations—top to bottom—on Main Street from Woody’s to Bub’s, and they will carve these gorgeous carvings. Hopefully, it will be cold enough so that they don’t melt immediately!”

This event offers the ice carvers two chances to win prize money: public and judge voting!

The following day, Sunday, Jan. 9, the ice carvers will be demonstrating their remarkable talent at Carter Green.

“There will be a carving competition at Carter Green, and people can vote for ‘People’s Choice,’” Osborne stated. “We’ll have tickets for people to put in their favorite carver’s box. It’s really amazing to watch and a really fun event. We put these colored gel lights under the pedestals that the Carmel Street Department made, and they light up the ice and make the sculptures really sparkle.”

Carmel’s Festival of Ice

Returning to heat things up a bit, Carmel Fire Department’s firehouses will compete in a chili cook-off on Sunday. At the time of publishing, the schedule had not been firmly set. See the Carmel website for updated details and a complete schedule of events.

“We’re really excited to have the chili cook-off back,” Osborne expressed. “Each [CFD] firehouse has its own ‘secret’ chili recipe, and there is a revolving trophy that makes its way around to all the different firehouses who win the competition.”

There will be a DJ and ticketed ice skating throughout the event as well.

Sensory Skate Days

There will be designated Sensory Skate Days at the Ice at Carter Green on Jan. 25 and Feb. 22, 2022, from 5–7 p.m. These events “provide a sensory-friendly event for families, especially designed for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder or any type of special need.”

“It’s a really special night for the families,” Osborne said. “This year, we’ll have a craft for the kids where they can make these little hats that they can wear. It’s a very calming environment for the kids. We also have these wooden ‘walkers’ where the kids can sit inside and be pushed across the ice without having to put on skates. But they still get the feeling of being on the ice. Wheelchairs are allowed up on the ice, and the parents can push the wheelchairs around on the ice, so the kids have that sensation of being on the ice. It’s one of my all-time favorite events.”

The Carmel Winter Games

Get your families, friends or colleagues together and register your teams today! The Carmel Winter Games are designed to encourage physical activity and a bit of healthy competition through on-ice, nonskating competitive games like human hungry hippo, human curling and an ice trike relay! The Winter Games kick off on Friday, Feb. 11 with the Hometown Hero-Olympics and continue the following day, Saturday, Feb. 12, with the competitive group games.

Carmel’s Festival of Ice

There is also a philanthropic component that helps build a sense of community spirit by supporting the Carmel United Methodist Church Food Pantry.

“The Hometown Hero-Olympics features the Carmel Police Department against the Carmel Fire Department, which is hysterically fun,” Osborne said. “There is a moving trophy between the two [agencies], and they take great pride in winning it. The Carmel Winter Games are great fun and bring a lot of energy to the Ice at Carter Green.”

For a complete schedule of upcoming events and to register your Winter Games teams, visit theiceatcartergreen.com.