Chili Fest puts an end to cabin fever

Ice sculptures decorate downtown Port Huron
Angie Stoecklin
Editor-in-Chief

The harsh Michigan winter was not enough to keep Port Huron residents, and other citizensIMG_0123 from around Michigan shut in their houses on Friday Jan. 23 and Saturday Jan. 24. Chili Fest, an event in downtown Port Huron and McMorran advertised as “Extreme Winter Fun” did not disappoint attendees like Sherry Levery of Port Huron.
“It’s nice that you get to see people you haven’t seen all winter cause you’ve been cooped up,” Levery said.
Grayson Sudia, 6, who accompanied Levery, had a different opinion of the best part about Chili Fest. “My favorite thing is looking at the ice sculptures,” Sudia said.
The ice sculptures, provided by Michigan Ice Carvers in Redford, Michigan, were live carved by the company’s owner Matt Sokolowski.
Sokolowski learned to sculpt at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, and has been doing it for 15 years. “We did 40 single life sculptures and 8 multi-block ice sculptures. We brought all the ice up from Redford,” said Sokolowski, who didn’t mind the 3 day getaway to Port Huron.
“I’m glad to get out of town for a couple days. When I’m out here I blocked out everything I didn’t know who was behind me or how many people were here, I wouldn’t have known what time it was if it weren’t for that big giant clock behind me,” Sokolowski said as he motioned towards the big clock on the front of McMorran.IMG_0169
Other than ice sculpting, Chili Fest featured an array of events including horse and trolley rides, a chili cook off, night concerts by The Poltroon’s, Ian Smith & Co., and the Lookin’ Back band. One of the events, the 4th annual Bed Races sponsored by the Blue Water Young Professionals, seemed to draw a high number of spectators.
Local businesses participated in the bed races, but they also featured a bed by SC4 club Marketing and Management. According to Dan McCarty, M&M club advisor, Ben’s Mattress Company donated the mattress for M&M club, and Napa donated the wheels as well as a garage to build it in.
“The main thing is that the M&M club is defending SC4’s honor,” McCarty said.
According to SC4 student government president William Warne, the M&M club placed midrange in the races.
Chili Fest is a reoccurring winter festival in downtown Port Huron, and according to the festival’s Facebook page, will be around next year.

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