A winter celebration

The annual Keene Ice and Snow Festival returns to downtown

You could say downtown was a little icier than normal on Saturday Feb. 3. Sculptures of all kinds were scattered in downtown Keene for the annual Ice and Snow Festival. Not only were there intensely detailed ice carvings, but there was also live music, dressed up characters, crafts, face painting, train rides, raffles and more.

This event is sponsored each year by multiple organizations and local businesses. A couple of the sponsors this year included City of Keene, Price Chopper, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Renewal by Andersen, Rescom Exteriors Inc., Local Burger, Liberty Mutual, Deep Roots Massage, the Days Inn, Best Western Plus, Fairfield Marriott and Holiday Inn of Keene, Life Is Sweet, Your Kitchen Store, Hannah Grimes Market Place and Great Eastern Radio, LLC/The Peak. and the chamber of commerce.

The first Keene Ice and Snow Festival was started in 2002 by Bill Jones because of his love for the winter. The Monadnock Travel Council organized the 16th annual celebration this year as well as in the past couple of years.

But the festival has been put on the first Saturday of February annually ever since 2002, with the exception of one year, due to too much snow.

“We do it every year for the children,” Organizer Jim Narkiewicz said. This free event was family-friendly and open to the entire Keene community. The festival started at 10 a.m. and many showed up to see what was offered until it eventually came to an end at 4 p.m.

“We usually get somewhere around 3,000 people throughout the day,” Narkiewicz said. He added there were so many people involved in putting this together so children and their families could come and enjoy their day with numerous activities and only have to pay for their food.

Mike Rondeau is an ice carver who has been cutting ice for 18 years, six of which have been for Keene’s Ice and Snow Festival.

This year, he made about 50 sculptures; one of which was a fire department collage. “It took me about two and a half hours or so, which is the right time,” Rondeau said, and then went on to explain how he makes these creations.

“[I make sculptures] with electric chainsaws and chizzles, stuff like that, just kind of ideas in my head that I’ve done before or different things to try out.”

Kelly Robinson said she came to the festival to enjoy a day with her daughter and grandson. When talking about the sculptures displayed, Robinson said, “It’s killer, it’s amazing how these people can do this, you sit and watch and you just wonder how.”

She said it is definitely something she would recommend bringing your family to, and she even wants to see more. “It would be nice if there were more.”

Even though it is Robinson’s first time coming to the Keene Ice and Snow Festival, she said she would definitely come back next year. This is an event fun for all ages.

For more information or to become a sponsor for next year, visit https://business.keenechamber.com/events/details/keene-ice-and-snow-festival-10230.

Kiana Wright can be contacted at kwright@kscequinox.com

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