Wednesday, January 8, 2020

38th Annual Ice Festival opens in Plymouth

The 38th Annual Plymouth Ice Festival may not officially open until the cutting of the ice ribbon by city officials tomorrow evening, but there will be a very special preview for some guests this evening.
The Miracle League of Plymouth and the Plymouth District Library have joined with festival producer James Geitzen of JAG Entertainment to provide an opportunity for special needs' families to enjoy a sneak peek of the festival this evening.
“This is something new for us and I am very excited about it,” Geitzen, who has produced the festival for six years, said. “It's a great way to allow more people to enjoy the ice and the event and it is just a great idea,” he added.
Geitzen is also looking forward to several other events at the 2020 celebration of all things winter this year but his favorite attraction has not changed through the years.
“It's the dueling chainsaws,” Geitzen said. “These guys have a chainsaw, a block of ice and 15 minutes and they produce art, every year. It is just a really exciting event,” he said.
That doesn't distract from his other favorites, which are, of course, the ice carvings themselves and the products of the college teams competing for honors and prizes. Then there are the sponsored carvings like the 20-block sculpture sponsored by Michigan First again this year.

James Geitzen
“That is always something to see,” Geitzen said, along with the fire and ice towers which burn Friday and Saturday evenings, the cross country ski demonstrations and lessons offered by Sun and Snow in Kellogg Park and, of course, the ice playground, the petting farm and the tubing slide.
“The Veteran's Tent, too, with the ice bar, is a big attraction for the over 21 crowd,” Geitzen said, but there is really something for everybody at this event. We just want to celebrate the outdoors and all the things there are to do outside in the winter.”
As always, Geitzen said, the real unknown factor in the success of the festival, which will bring 100,000 people into the city, is the weather.
“We want it to be cold, but one year when it was warmer, people still came and they had a great time. There is just a lot to do,” Geitzen said.
As for the special opening tonight,  “It is designed to provide an opportunity to give special needs' families the opportunity to experience one of the opportunity to experience one of Plymouth's best weekends during the winter season they otherwise may not be able to attend,” said Kelly Hermann, executive director of The Miracle League of Plymouth. “Our families will enjoy live ice carving, near the entrance to the library, and sensory friendly entertainment inside the library.”
Additionally, there will be interactive sensory ice blocks, light snacks, children's crafts and a theatrical performance by 4th Wall Productions. The City of Plymouth Fire Department is also scheduled to show off their gear. Volunteers will also be giving short tours of the main event setup in Kellogg Park, weather permitting.
The 2020 Plymouth Ice Festival runs from Jan. 10 to 12,  throughout downtown Plymouth. For information about the Plymouth Ice Festival, contact Gietzen at (248) 817-8836 or via email at
(A complete guide to Plymouth Ice Festival activities and events is included in this edition of The Eagle.)