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Local News / Entertainment

Tuesday, 25 January, 2011 5:04 PM

20th Annual Zehnder's Snowfest is now underway in Frankenmuth

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Larger-than-life snow sculptures in front of the Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn on Jan. 29, 2010. This year's Zehnder's Snowfest runs from Jan. 26 - 31, 2011.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

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FRANKENMUTH, Mich. -- The Zehnder's Snowfest is one of the biggest and best outdoor winter festivals in America. It kicked off this morning and runs through Jan. 31 along Main Street in Frankenmuth, Mich. There are dozens of activities including ice sculptures, huge snow sculptures, live entertainment, lots of great food, activities for the kids, fireworks and much more. The 20th annual Snowfest is also home to the apple pie contest, U.S. National Collegiate Ice Carving Competition and the State of Michigan Snow Sculpting Competition.

John Shelton is the vice president of sales and marketing at Zehnder's of Frankenmuth. He also serves as the chairman of the annual Snowfest festival.

The Snowfest begins today (Wednesday, Jan. 26) with the 6th Annual Apple PIe contest. From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., judges will decide who made the best apple recipe and pie. Snow carving teams will start working on their sculptures in the Zehnder's parking lot. Children's snow sculpting will take place at the Frankenmuth River Place. The state of Michigan snow sculpting begins at 6 p.m. in the parking lot of Bavarian Inn Restaurant.

"We have double-block competition where we have teams from all over the world participate," Shelton said. "A team from Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, U.S.A. and Argentina. We also have our U.S.A. competition for teams from Tennessee, we have a team from Colorado, and we have teams all over the state of Michigan. We have our state of Michigan competition, which is 20 teams will be competing in that event. Then, we also have a high school competition. There's a plethora of activities going on."

The fun continues on Thursday, Jan. 27 with the Dueling Piano Luncheon at noon inside the Zehnder's main dining room. Tickets were priced at $30, however they are sold out. WNEM-TV Ch. 5 will broadcast live from the Snow Desk at 5:30 p.m. JOE FM & Birch Run Premium Outlets will sponsor bingo inside the warming tent from 1 to 3 p.m. A winter wonder worship will take place inside the warming tent from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Work will continue on the snow sculptures on Thursday.

"It's quite an opportunity to bring out the entire family," the chairman of the Zehnder's Snowfest explained. "We never said we want to be the biggest snow and ice carving event in this area or in the United States. We want to have the highest quality. I think over the last 20 years the work that has been done here that we've been able to reach that goal. We've been able to attract some of the best snow and ice carvers throughout the world to participate in our events."

Friday, Jan. 28 is a great day to attend the Snowfest. Award-winning ice sculptor Greg Butauski will begin work on a 100-block masterpiece and 9 a.m. and he will end at 4:30 p.m. Look for him in the Zehnder's parking lot behind Rau's Country Store. The high school snow sculpting competition begins at 9 a.m. WNEM-TV Ch. 5 will broadcast live from the Snow Desk at 7 a.m. and Noon. The 338th Army Band will perform a concert inside the warming tent from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

The rest of the night is dedicated to country music. WKCQ-FM (98.1) will broadcast live from outside the warming tent from 4 to 6 p.m. Then, the KCQ Karaoke Contest Finals will begin inside the warming tent at 6 p.m. This year's finalists in the junior division are Kelsey Dobis, Ashley Hogan, Shelby Leonard, Beyanna Thayer and Shauna Treib. The adult division finalists are Robyn Crump, Chelsea Loudon, Cody Owens, Randal Terrian and Susie Rohn. Prizes will be awarded at 7:30 p.m. Then, the Steel Wheels Band will perform from 8 p.m. to midnight. There is a $5 cover charge after 6 p.m. so arrive early to get in free!

The children's play area will be open from 4 to 7 p.m. next to the Frankenmuth Toy Company. It features a petting zoo and pony rides. A putt putt golf course with a Jamaican theme will be open from 3 to 8 p.m. behind Rau's Country Store. The cost is $2. The collegiate ice carving will get underway at 6 p.m. at Zehnder Park. There will be chicken bowling and food stands from 4 to 10 p.m. outside the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce. Children's inflatables will also be on site from 4 to 8 p.m.

"You can go from a juggler to magic shows to face painting to pony rides to chicken bowling to inflatables," Shelton added. "Most of the things are complimentary. There are some that cost for some of the children's activities. There's a wide variety of fun things for the kids of all ages and just walking around to look at the ice and snow sculptures is a good time as well."

The Snowfest continues on Saturday, Jan. 29 with personalized ice blocks carved for children from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Zehnder's parking lot. The putt putt golf course, children's play area, inflatables and chicken bowling will also be going on. The annual fireworks display will begin at 6:45 p.m.

Saturday is Classics Day inside the warming tent. The 338th Army Band Concert will run from 10:30 a.m. to Noon. Face painting will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jim Carmody will perform magic shows at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. Ceyx will perform a concert from 1 to 5 p.m. Snow carving awards will be presented at 2 p.m. The Rock Show will provide the music from 8 to midnight. There is a $5 cover charge after 6 p.m. so arrive early to get in free!

"We expect Saturday to be the busiest night," the chairman of the Zehnder's Snowfest explained. "We've added a little bit to our fireworks show. We think it's going to be the best one we've had in 20 years. One block of ice is about four hundred pounds. We have some people using three or four blocks to create the sculptures. It takes a lot of hard work."

All ice and snow sculptures will be completed for public viewing by Sunday, Jan. 30. The warming tent opens at 10 a.m. and stays open until 6 p.m. with food, refreshments, exhibit booths and entertainment. The Sauce Cats will provide music from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. The putt putt golf course, children's play area, inflatables and chicken bowling will also be going on.

"I'd love for you and your audience to come out and enjoy Zehnder's Snowfest winter wonderland," Shelton said. "Come out and enjoy activities. As always, stop by Zehnder's and have some of our world-famous chicken dinners."

The Zehnder's Snowfest wraps up on Monday, Jan. 31 with the 19th Annual Chef's Hot Food Competition and Tasting. This year's event is a salute to Mardi Gras. It runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and the cost is $30 per person.

For more information on the Zehnder's Snowfest, visit www.zehnders.com/zehnderssnowfest.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Putt Putt Golf with ice sculptures!

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Frozen Chicken Bowling in Frankenmuth

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

KCQ's Jim Kramer speaks with the teen finalists at last year's karaoke competition. It returns on Friday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Last year's adult finalists in the KCQ Karaoke Competition.

 

 

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