We hope you enjoy this abbreviated version of the
In our 110th year ~ Vol. 110 No. 31
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Zehnder's Snowfest celebrates 25 years; thousands attended, business thrived
For the past 24 years, Zehnder’s Snowfest has been entertaining thousands with a variety of snow and ice sculptures, cooking and baking contests, a vibrant warming tent with plenty of music and events for the entire family.
The 25th annual celebration of the winter arts had that and more . . . more people than ever before according to most accounts.
The six-day festival wrapped up Monday evening with the 24th annual Chef’s Hot food Competition and Tasting, with this year’s theme being a culinary salute to Mardi Gras.
Long-time area business owners, residents, carvers and Snowfest Committee members felt, almost to a person, that this year’s Snowfest was the most successful on record.
The weather cooperated basically one day, Friday, when cold weather was needed the most. The snow sculptors enjoyed temperatures in the teens to lower 20s and partly cloudy skies. It remained cold overnight and by the time 10am Saturday rolled around – judging time – the temps began to spike. Sunday saw rain in the afternoon.
Saturday brought a mass of humanity to town, with stop and go traffic starting at Birch Run Road at M-83. Junction Road from the west and north M-83 also became backed up.
Zehnder’s reported their best Snowfest Saturday warming tent beverage sales. Other businesses, including daVinci’s Italian Restaurant and Prost! Wine Bar and Charcuterie had record days.
Snowfest even affected outlying eateries. Beamers at the corner of M-83 and Birch Run Road had their best day and in Richville, Fritz’s Family Restaurant experienced one of their higher volume days.
The snow and ice carvers sculpted in the comfort of the warmer temps, adapting to the conditions and turning out high-quality artwork.
In the World Single Block Competition, first place went to Luke Dehtiar, Ryan Olszowy and Max Dehtiar of Rockford with 𠇍ive into a Good Book.” They also earned “People’s Choice.”
Frankenmuth’s own trio Steve Hargash, Billy Budd and Gary Gavit took second place, representing Michigan/New York, with “Out of this World.” Hargash, a Frankenmuth native who now resides in New York, is a veteran carver, as is Budd. Gavit is a talented local artist as well who made his first foray into snow sculpting.
Bay City’s Sean Gallagher, Spencer Sharf and Adam Wernecke were third with 𠇊ngel.”
The World Double Block champion also involved four long-time fest carvers in Bob Fulks, Jane Keene, Mark Mischler and Ian Washington. They created “Three Dog Night.” “People’s Choice” went to the Star Wars themed “I am the Master,” carved by Al Foster, Gordon Oberman, Ryan Leix and Sam Licavoli. That foursome has also logged many hours at Snowfests the past 20-plus years.
The State of Michigan Competition was held in the Bavarian Inn Restaurant parking lot. First place went to Ashley Brown, Paris Conquest and Sidney Neuenfeldt with 𠇏ragile Concept.”
Wayne McCrainie, Scott Vandervort and Doug Vandervort took second place with 𠇏our Squared.”
Michael Lesser, Nick Bence and Adam Messing captured third place with “Rapunzel.”
The High School Competition drew nearly two dozen teams and took place on the east side of the Frankenmuth River Place. Bay City John Glenn Team B won first place with “Python.” Megan Luzack, Ryan Kwiatkowski, Jen Tomczak, Thom Lewis and Amy Lynne Pobanz were the winning students.
Second place went to Corunna High School with 𠇋onds are Broken” and third place was won by John Glenn Team A with “Peace and War.”
Holly High School took home “People’s Choice” with 𠇏low of Life. The team included Ella Hughes, Jena Blalock, Cynthia Ferguson and Megan Peppard.
The overall winners of the National Ice Carving Association U.S. National Collegiate Ice Carving Championship included first place, Oakland College (Matt Larsen and Laren Kaplac), second place Macomb Community College (Kaitlin Propfer and Alex Macomb) and third place Oakland Community College (Chaeiyln and James Seeterlin).
These students competed in three ice carving events over three days for scholarship money.
In honor of Zehnder’s Snowfest’s 25th anniversary, four collegiate alumni ice carving teams competed in a five-block competition on Friday, under the tent just north of Zehnder’s. Mark Tempel and Rich Daley were the winners of the Collegiate Alumni Ice Carving Challenge.