December 19, 2009

Snow carvers' lament: 'If only it were colder...'

Fred Gardner with his Blind Date

A phrase you don't often hear in Winter was muttered frequently in Monument Square on Saturday. "I sure hope it gets cold tonight," the snow carvers were saying out loud -- to each other and to anyone who would listen.

In fact, the day's positively balmy 36° -- by snow-carving standards -- took an early casualty: Neal Vogt's charming monster, which he began carving about 6 a.m. Saturday, collapsed into a soggy snowpile in mid-afternoon, an object lesson to the 19 other carvers. Luckily, we took a picture of it about 9:30 a.m., so if you missed seeing it on the square, here it is at right!

Jeff Shawhan said the message was clear to all the carvers: rough out your sculpture, and hope for the expected freeze tonight. Don't do the fine detailed work until Sunday morning.

Gina Dilbertl echoed his warning. "I hope it freezes so I can finish this the way I planned," she said. "Until then, I want to spend some time in the hot tub!"

Public judging of the finished sculptures will be Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with the results announced at 2 p.m. There will be three prizes chosen by the public: $500 for 1st place, $400 for 2nd and $300 for 3rd. And a final $100 prize for the sculpture judged best by the 20 carvers themselves.

Here's what some of the sculptures looked like about 3:30 p.m.

Gina Dilibertl with her cowgirl

Dan Ingebrigtson shapes his fairy's wings

Jim Malkowski made Billy the Browny the tallest sculpture

AnnMarie Harder carving The Simple Truth

Snowmaker John White with Touch of Class (cello to come later)

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