Thursday, February 10, 2022

Ice Festival organizer credits sponsors for event success

Thousands of visitors are expected to stroll through downtown Plymouth during the 40th Annual Ice Festival this weekend, enjoying the free family event.

The “free” event, however, is a very expensive and time-consuming production which takes months of planning and a hefty budget to produce. 

Those costs, for insurance, tons of ice, city permits and artists and general labor are completely funded by corporate and business sponsorships and by local merchants who purchase the 350-pound ice carvings displayed in front of the various businesses.

Neither the city or the township contributes financially to the event, which like all others in the community, is required to pay permit fees to the city to fund any extra trash disposal and fire and police personnel fees. No tax or municipal funds are spent in producing the event, organizers stressed.

James Gietzen of JAG Entertainment which has been managing the Ice Festival for about 10 years, arranges for the purchase of the blocks of ice and hires the professional ice sculptors to turn them into the works of art displayed throughout the community and in Kellogg Park. Depending on the level of participation from local merchants, and sponsorships, the ice alone is usually about a $10,000 to $15,000 expense.

There is also the cost of general operations and while Gietzen is grateful for the volunteer help from the community each year, there are also costs for professional production staffing and the ice sculptors.

“We could not do this without the volunteers and the sponsors,” Gietzen said. “This is really a community event with so many people and businesses participating. The sponsors really deserve a huge thanks for bringing this kind of family event to the area. 

“I think this event really demonstrates the sense of community in Plymouth. It's just a great example of the way the entire community is involved,” Gietzen said.

 “People can come out to see all the good things that are still going on in the community and enjoy some time outside. This year, especially, I think it is timely and something people will really enjoy.”

Sponsors this year include Michigan First Credit Union; Genisis Credit Union; Ehlers Heating and Cooling; Michigan Educational Credit Union; IHA; Wade Trim; Blackwell Ford, E.G. Nick's; Greko Printing; Community Financial and Howard Hanna Real Estate.