Mark Bahnson, with his wife Carmen beside him, creates an ice sculpture in the shape of Michigan and decorate it with the Detroit Tigers signature "D" as part of the Ice Breaker Festival, Saturday, Feb. 6 in downtown South Haven. They called their creation, "D'Mitten." The Bahnson's sculpture was sponsored by Bloomingdale Communications and won third prize in the amateur ice carving division.
Stan Horne works on his sculpture during the Ice Breaker Festival, Saturday, Feb. 6. Horne created a sculpture that resembled an eskimo. He created a hole in the ice for the face to allow people to peek their head through it for photo opportunities. Chemical Bank sponsored the sculpture. Horne carved several sculptures during the festival. He, along with Greg Beachey, won third prize in the professional division for a sculpture sponsored by the South Haven/Van Buren County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Dave Kurth, an art teacher from Ann Arbor, works on asculpture of a fish and sea horse during Ice Breaker 2015. This year's sculpture contest will be Saturday, Feb. 6 in downtown South Haven.
South Haven gets ready for some spice and ice
By BECKY KARK
Editor and general manager
If numbers tell the story, this year's Ice Breaker festival should be an entertaining event.
Now in its 23rd year, the three-day festival will showcase more than 50 ice sculptures spectators can enjoy looking at while sampling chili from 27 restaurants.
“This year there will be 52 ice sculptures, including two five-block sculptures,” said Susan Diepen, assistant director for the South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce. “We will have 21,000 pounds of ice total - that’s 10 ½ tons.”
The sculpture contest and chili cook-off are just two of more than a dozen activities lined up for this year's festival, Friday-Sunday, Feb. 5-7, in South Haven.
“It's such a local event,” said Laura Rusin, owner of Captain Nemo's restaurant, which will once again serve ice cream chili during the chili cook-off. “I look forward to seeing folks who have not been out in a while due to winter weather.”
But Ice Breaker doesn't only attract local residents
“I have guests that return every year just for Ice Breaker,” said Jan Leksich, owner of Victoria Resort. “Guests confirm their rooms a year ahead.”
The wintertime festival is organized by the South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce, which tries each year to infuse new life into the lineup of activities. And this year is no exception.
The first-ever Snowsuit Fashion Contest will take place at 7 p.m., Friday, at Brix Corner Oven, at the corner of Eagle and Kalamazoo streets.
“We’re hoping to have contestants walk the runway in everything from neon ski outfits to vintage hunting outfits and Eskimo-inspired wear,” Diepen said. “The funkier and more over-the-top, the better. This is going to be really fun and lighthearted, and we’re always looking for more ways to extend the events.”
Prizes and awards will be presented for such tongue-in-cheek categories as “Sub-zero Glamour,” “Ugly But Functional” and “Hey, Don't Judge Me, It's Warm.” The top prize will be two suite tickets, valued at $500, to the Red Wings vs. Chicago Black Hawks hockey game, March 2.
Other Ice Breaker events include children and family activities at South Haven Memorial Library and South Haven Center for the Arts, horse-drawn carriage rides, Break the Ice 5K Run, euchre tournament, Our Town Players children's performance of “Peter Pan & Wendy,” and ice skating at the South Haven Ice Rink.
Although Ice Breaker isn't one of South Haven's largest festivals, like the National Blueberry Festival and Harborfest, it definitely heats up downtown's economy during the cold, winter months.
“Ice Breaker is such an important winter event for our community in terms of economic impact,” Diepen said. “The Chamber of Commerce puts the effort into this event each year because it brings critical revenue to local businesses at a time that would otherwise be very slow. Businesses report that Ice Breaker weekend is like the 4th of July in terms of numbers and sales.”
Ice Breaker contest results
Ice Sculpture Contest
1st place — Bangor Schools, crystal trophy and $100 Meijer gift card
2nd place — Bangor Schools, crystal trophy and $50 gift Card
3rd place — St. Basil Catholic School, crystal trophy and $25 cash award
1st place — Frank Lawson carving for Black River Tavern, $100 cash and ribbon
2nd place — Shannon Bajo carving for The Depot, $75 cash and ribbon
3rd place — Mark Bahnson carving for Bloomingdale Communications, $50 cash and ribbon
1st place — Sean Torstenson carving for Oh My Darlings, blue crystal trophy and certificate
2nd place — Al Ruppert carving for Clementine's, blue crystal trophy and certificate
3rd place — Stan Horne and Greg Beachey carving for South Haven/Van Buren County Convention &Visitors Bureau, blue crystal trophy and certificate
Queen's Cup (awarded by Miss South Haven and her court) — Lou Rodriguez and Ted Guimond, carving for Village Market
Chili Cook-off contest
1st place — HawksHead Inn, Con Carne Trophy and certificate
2nd place — Taste restaurant, trophy and certificate
3rd place — American Legion, trophy and certificate
Ice Breaker Festival Schedule
Friday, Feb. 5
Saturday, Feb. 6
Sunday, Feb. 7
For more information, visit www.southhavenmi.com
Ice Breaker get-together helps fund summer music concert
By BECKY KARK
Editor and general manager
Foundry Hall is known for hosting a wide variety of indoor concerts, but the cultural arts organization now plans to use an outdoor setting for a new all-day music festival this summer.
Rhythm on the River is scheduled for Saturday, July 23 at Riverfront Park on Water Street.
“Music will start late morning and will go into the night,” said Ben Holt, president of Foundry Hall. “Our plans are to showcase original music, Michigan craft beer, and local food. We will be looking at all types of original music and hope to highlight as much music we can in that one day.”
To gear up for the event, Foundry Hall is teaming up with Black River Tavern during the Ice Breaker Festival to host a fundraising event.
The event will take place from 1-5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 6 in the tavern's recently remodeled lower level. It will feature chili tasting, beverages from the bar and live music from 1-3 p.m. by The Deep Fried Pickle Project, a Kalamazoo-based American roots band that has appeared with Nickel Creek, Wilco, Umphrey's McGee and Bela Fleck at festival tours.
The event at Black River Tavern is free, but donations will be accepted to help finance the summer music festival.
“This festival is about the community,” Holt said. “As the festival grows we would like to highlight everything that is great about this city, and partner with as many businesses and non-profits as possible.”
The idea for the outdoor music festival came about after Foundry Hall moved to the Warren Center in 2015. The Warren Center has limited space for large-scale concerts, so its board began to explore other venues.
“This led us to partnering with Black River Tavern, Scott Club, and other organizations,” Holt said. But he also began looking elsewhere.
“Our city is such a lovely place and having performers play outside seemed like a perfect way to reach our goal of contributing to the community, and add even more vibrancy to our city,” he said. “This led to our partnership with the city for the Thursday Night Riverfront Concert Series. From that Rhythm on the River was born.”
South Haven City Council in November gave its approval for the festival, and plans are proceeding with the event. For more information about the festival, or to donate, email email@example.com, or call 269-220-0444.
Runners brave the cold in Break the Ice 5K Run
By FARAH GREEN
For the Tribune
If you like to run in the cold, crispy air, the Ice Breaker festival has an event tailor-made for you.
The Second Annual Break the Ice 5k Run/Walk and Kids Frosty Dash will take place, Saturday, Feb. 6, as a fundraiser for the South Haven Middle and High School cross-country and track programs.
The 5k will begin at 10 a.m. at the corner of Eagle and Kalamazoo streets. The Kids Frosty Dash will follow at 11 am,starting on Water Street near the South Haven Municipal Marina.
“We have over 200 kids in the cross-country and track programs, so it will go towards their support, said event organizer Lindsay Abdul-Haqq, who also serves as coach for the cross-country and track teams.
Last year, the Break the Ice 5k raised nearly $5,000, and most of the funds have gone toward improving the program.
“We hope to have a good turnout this year,” Abdul-Haqq said. “Sometime it depends on the weather though; if it’s going to be 23 degrees and no snowstorm then that helps. Also, having the race take place during the whole Ice Breaker festival helps. The race is a nice add-on to the festival.”
Runners can register for the race and Frosty Dash from 5-7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 5 at South Haven High School's cafeteria, 600 Elkenburg St. Late registration will also take place from 8-9:45 a.m., the day of the race, in the lower level of Black River Tavern, at the corner of Kalamazoo and Phoenix streets.
Following the race, awards will be given to the winners of the 5K and Kids Frosty Dash in several categories: Male and Female overall winner; Awards will also be handed to the top three in each age group including Overall Male/Female and Overall Master's Male/Female. The age groups are 10 & under, 11-15, 16-20, 21-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-40, 41-45, 46-50, 51-59, 60-69, and 70-79 and older. The Kids Frosty Dash is for participants ages 10 and younger.
For more information about participation visit http://www.southhavenmi.com/pages/IceBreaker.