The Great Ice Show opens at The Forks after touch-and-go winter
STEPHANIE SETKA, CONTRIBUTOR
Some people can’t feel their toes, but anyone can feel Andy Zhao’s excitement.
“I’m happy, of course, that it’s finally gotten cold, but in the beginning it’s been a challenge,” said Zhao.
Zhao is one of the organizers for the Great Ice Show set to happen at The Forks this month. It’s based on the Harbin Ice and Snow World show in the northern Chinese province of Heilongjiang. That was a month-long festival which started in the 80s.
Winnipeg felt an uncharacteristically warm December, ice had to be brought in from out of town.
Zhao said he knew the team would have to work with mild weather eventually.
“The weather has increased our costs but the learning curve as well,” he said. “This is actually my dream.”
The show requires more than 40 ice sculptors to create the pieces.
“I want to make sure that Winnipeg is proud of this product and supportive of this product,” said Zhao.
Zhao has been working with these sculptors since 2009. He said they’re artists from the film production company, DreamWorks, who have more than 20 years experience with ice sculpting.
“The tallest [ice sculpture] we have is 40 feet tall. For us, that’s a massive size,” said Zhao. “In China, the tallest ice structure they have is about 280 feet tall. It’s all ice, there’s no metal in between. So for them it’s easy. For us, it’s a good start.”
The Great Ice Show runs from Jan. 25 to Feb. 28. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or onsite at The Forks for $25 plus fees and taxes and $16 for anyone under 18.
“I’m very excited to see it,” said Darlene Galbraith, who visited The Forks with her grandson Casey Finnie.
“I’ve seen the pictures of when they do it out in China and it just looks so beautiful,” she said. “I’m just excited to see the whole experience of it because it seems pretty cool.”
Other attractions for the Great Ice Show are a 60 foot long ice slide, an ice bar for adults, ice bumper cars and on weekends Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen will be dropping by for visits.