Fête de Glacé in downtown St. Charles is snow much fun! Ice carvers use chainsaws, chisels, grinders, and other tools to turn a plain block of ice into a stunning masterpiece right on Main Street. It’s such an amazing transition that you’ll think they used magic, too. This is the festival’s 25th anniversary and special activities are in store to celebrate. Fête de Glacé is held on the last Saturday of January from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM on the 100 and 200 blocks of Historic North Main Street.
The competition has two categories: single-block carving and five-block team carving. While it’s a competition, there aren’t official judges, only the public can vote for a winner. “The audience gets very involved,” said Rose Wells, co-organizer of Fête de Glacé. “Everyone can vote, no matter their age. We really encourage everyone to participate.” Last year, the winning single-block carving team carved an angel fish, and the five-block team carving winners carved a dragon out of ice blocks.
Time is of the essence in ice carving, so it’s recommended that visitors stay until the end to see the finished sculptures. Carvers only have a few hours to complete their ice sculptures, so it’s worth the wait. “It’s such a good, positive atmosphere because everyone’s happy to be together again after being cooped up since the holidays,” said April Moxley, co-organizer of Fête de Glacé, “Everyone watches the carvings evolve in awe.” Visitors are also encouraged to warm up at Bowls & Brews, which will be held on the 300 block of North Main Street during Fête de Glacé. Enjoy some of the best tasting chili and beer in the St. Charles area and vote for your favorite in each category to determine a winner. Many shops will be open with special deals and here are many coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants nearby to warm up in as well.
Cold winter days can be bothersome, but it’s great for ice carvers who don’t want their ice to melt. In fact, the colder it is, the more detailed the carvers work is. Embrace sweater weather and enjoy the experience of watching the carvers’ ideas come to life at Fête de Glacé.
“Ice carving is somewhat of a lost art,” said Wells. “We feel lucky to have talented, supportive carvers who come out and participate each year.”