Ice carvers, fireworks, a chili competition, games and an ice cream eating contest are a few highlights of Wayne County’s 11th annual Meltdown Winter Ice Festival. 

The activities begin Wednesday, Jan. 24, in downtown Richmond and conclude Saturday, Jan. 27, with the Meltdown Throwdown carving competition and fireworks at 7:30 p.m. at Elstro Plaza, 47 N. Sixth St., Richmond.

Many of the events, including the Throwdown finale, are free for the public. 

Organizers hope to draw crowds from around Wayne County as well as the region to see the professional ice carvers use blow torches, chisels, handsaws and chainsaws to create a frozen art gallery for area residents to drive or stroll by. Sculptures will remain on display downtown until they melt. 

Here are a few highlights early in the festival:  

  • Meet an Ice Carver: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, Morrisson-Reeves Library, 80 N. Sixth St. Watch their work up close. 
  • Chili for Charity: 5:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at Morrisson-Reeves. A $10 ticket includes 12 samples from local restaurants in a friendly competition. Pay cash at the door.    
  • Costume contest: Thursday, Jan. 25: 5:30 p.m. at Paint the Towne, 411 N. Eighth St., in partnership with Ullery’s Ice Cream. Ages 0-12 are encouraged to wear a “Frozen” movie costume and enjoy hot chocolate, treats and giveaways.

A full schedule and any updates can be found at  

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A version of this article appeared in the January 17 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.