Visitors get up close and personal with ice sculptures during the 2018 Meltdown Winter Ice Festival in Richmond. Photo by Stephanie Harrison Photography

Area residents are invited for a weekend of free activities that include watching ice carvers compete during Wayne County’s sixth annual Meltdown Winter Ice Festival.
Carvers from around the country started their work earlier this week in downtown Richmond, placing sculptures along Main Street. Residents can take a walking tour, or drive by and see the art while staying warm in their vehicles.
The Interactive Play Zone is expected to be open Friday through Sunday, where visitors can play games made of ice and pose for pictures with sculptures. Previous highlights have included an ice slide, table tennis and skee ball.
A Frosty Mugs Pub Crawl starts at 5 p.m. Friday at several downtown and Depot District establishments for those 21 and older (full list at
Bales Fox Fire will present a show at 6 p.m. Friday at Elstro Plaza, 47 N. Sixth St., Richmond, followed by an ice fights competition between carvers at 7:30 p.m. Teams will work together on massive melting artwork before a cheering crowd of all ages.
Food will be available from local vendors at Elstro Plaza on Friday and Saturday nights. Previous highlights have included ice cream, barbecue, kettle corn, and hot and chilled beverages, including wine.
On Saturday morning, the Frozen Fairy Trail will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. starting at the Old National Road Welcome Center, 5701 National Road E., Richmond. Kids can participate in wintry crafts and games at each Enchanted Fairy Trail stop.
Hayes Arboretum also will offer a new Hayes Hikes and Chocolate from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Guests can warm up after exploring nature with free hot chocolate in the nature center at 801 Elks Road. The driving tour, hiking trails and nature center will be open for exploration.
Also from 10 a.m-4 p.m., there will be Magical Snowflakes on Main. Large snowflakes will be placed along Main Street with uplifting quotes. Participants can collect code words from each to form a secret message, and then turn in their passports at the welcome center for a prize.
Early Childhood Coalition for Wayne County Kids will offer hot chocolate, popcorn, games and fun activities for kids, all at no charge, at the Grassroots Action Resource Center, 819 E. Main St., from noon-6 p.m.Saturday.
Concerts are planned in downtown locations from 3-7 p.m. Saturday as well. The lineup includes Gypsy Schindler (banjo) at 3 p.m. at Wayne County Historical Museum, 1150 N. A St.; Charles Ramsey (ambient guitar) at 3:45 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 800 N. A St.; Megan Eversole (folk) at 4:30 p.m. at Black Dog Printing, 12 N. Ninth St.; Achilles Tenderloin (blues) at 5:15 p.m. at Ply Fiber, 915 E. Main St.; Tyler Michael Walton (Americana) at 6 p.m. at Circle E Clothing, 801 E. Main St.; and Patchwork Moonlight (jazz) at 6:30 p.m. at Circle E Clothing.
On Saturday evening, the ice fights continue at 7:30 p.m. at Elstro Plaza, with the audience picking the winner. An after-party hosted by Helping Young Professionals Engage takes place at Smiley’s Pub from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Find a full schedule and read about the carvers at, where donations may be made to help the festival continue.
By Millicent Martin Emery

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