Ice is nice at Northbrook Winter Carnival
Armand "Hawk" Ramirez of Nadeau's Ice Sculptures creates an Eskimo for Northbrook's Winter Carnival. Friday Dec. 21, 2012. | James C. Svehla~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 8, 2013 1:02PM
NORTHBROOK — The village is preparing for a Jan. 12 Winter Carnival that would melt even Scrooge’s frigid heart.
It’s a free, annual family event from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Meadowhill Park, 1479 Maple Ave., that includes demonstrations, family games, contests, prizes and food, compliments of the Northbrook Park District.
New this year will be a free ice sculpture demonstration, horse-drawn carriage rides, and maybe ice skating.
“We add new elements every year to keep improving this special event, and we moved the location to Meadowhill Park this year to offer ice skating, weather permitting,” said Tiffany Greene, leisure services supervisor.
James Nadeau, owner of Nadeau’s Ice Sculptures in Forest Park, has agreed to create two ice sculptures for the event.
One is a large sled he will carve at the site for everyone to see the process, and the other is an Eskimo holding a sign announcing the event that he plans to deliver fully carved.
First Nadeau makes the ice, which must be crystal clear and dense, during a very slow and laborious process that takes four days per slab, he said.
“We make the temperature 22 degrees, which is very warm to make ice. We don’t want to blast freeze it and trap air,” he added.
“As the ice is starting to grow we have water pumps that agitate it so the air has a chance to escape. Then we harvest the ice, carve what we want, put it in a freezer, then send it on its merry way.”
The Eskimo was carved in about an hour from a slab of ice weighing 300 pounds. When finished, it weighed about 200 pounds.
The toboggan probably will weigh about 800 pounds once it’s finished. And it will be created with open space for children’s faces, so they can have photos taken with it, Nadeau said.
How long the sculptures will last depends upon the weather. If it’s 30 degrees and cloudy, they could last weeks, he added.
“But if it’s super-duper cold, very few people will see them, because few will get out of their cars. If its warm, they will be mobbed and gone by the next day.”
Also included in the event will be games, a snowshoe obstacle course, sled-decorating contest, deejay music, a bonfire with s’mores, hot apple cider and cheese sampling. Food also will be available for purchase.
The Winter Carnival has been honored by the Illinois Park and Recreation Association as an outstanding special event, Greene said.
Reds Garden Center, Sunset Foods and Cabot Creamery have partnered with the park district to present it.
“The Winter Carnival is a great way to get out of the house, celebrate the season and enjoy the community,” she added.