Ice artists prep for nationals at Fire & Ice Festival, Jan. 23

The 9th annual Rochester Fire & Ice Festival will host its first college ice carving contest on Saturday, January 23, in downtown Rochester during the festival weekend, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced Tuesday. Students from six colleges and culinary arts programs will carve sculptures out of blocks of ice with the hopes of grabbing top honors.

The Rochester Fire & Ice Festival ice carving contest will enable some of the student ice sculptors to practice for the upcoming National Ice Carving Association (NICA) US Collegiate Championships and Pro/Master Revisited Competition. That includes last year’s second- and third-place collegiate champions, Katlin Pfropper and Alex Wagner, both of Macomb Community College. Other ice artists will represent Oakland Community College, Henry Ford Community College, The Art Institute, Dorsey Schools, and the University of Michigan.

“We’re very excited to add the ice carving contest to the numerous activities families can enjoy at the Rochester Fire & Ice Festival—Oakland County’s premiere winter quality of life event,” Patterson said. “Admission to the festival is free thanks to our sponsors.”

The Rochester Fire & Ice Festival, which runs Friday, Jan. 22, through Sunday, Jan. 24, will announce the winner of its first ice carving contest Saturday evening.

Rochester Fire & Ice Festival fans will also encounter their favorites including fireworks on Friday and Saturday night sponsored by Hour Detroit and Soave Real Estate Group; the Big, Bright Light Show; the TasteFest & Beer Tent; and dozens of ice sculptures lining Main Street. This year’s Main Street ice sculpture theme is literary characters. Festival-goers will also enjoy tube sledding, ice skating, snowshoeing, dogsledding, cross country skiing, carriage rides, food trucks, face painting, ice carving demonstrations, and more.

“Tens of thousands of families attend the Rochester Fire & Ice Festival every year,” said J. David VanderVeen, chairperson of the Rochester Fire & Ice Committee and director of central services for Oakland County. “There truly is something for everyone thanks to the hard work of our partners and hundreds of volunteers.”

Families may once again go home with a new furry best friend. Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center will have a tent at the Fire & Ice Festival to adopt dogs and to renew or purchase dog licenses.

The Brooksie Way Chill at the Mills 5k Race returns on Sunday, Jan. 24. Runners may register at or in person the morning of the race. The path, which begins and ends on Third Street in front of Rochester Fire Station follows the Paint Creek.

In addition, the Rochester Fire Department will host spaghetti dinners Friday and Saturday night and a pancake breakfast Sunday morning to support Rochester Area Youth Assistance.

The Rochester Fire & Ice Festival welcomes back musical guest Jennifer Kincer & Friends who will perform live on stage Friday and Saturday night.

“The Rochester Fire & Ice Festival is one of the highlights of winter for downtown Rochester,” Mayor Cathy Daldin said. “We welcome individuals not just from all over Michigan but out of state too. It’s a chance for Rochester to show why we’re an outstanding community.”

The Fire & Ice Festival goes from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24. Fireworks are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The festival site is at East Water and Third streets in downtown Rochester. Parking is available in downtown Rochester or at Buffalo Wild Wings at 1234 Walton in Rochester. There will be a shuttle running between the restaurant and the festival. For detailed event schedules and more information, go to or

The Fire & Ice Festival Committee, Oakland County, Oakland County Parks and Recreation, the City of Rochester and Downtown Rochester would like to thank this year’s presenting sponsor Oakland County Credit Union; major sponsors Frank Rewold Construction/Royal Park Hotel, Hour Detroit, Rochester Mills Beer Co., Shelton Buick GMC, and Soave Enterprises; and supporting sponsors Buffalo Wild Wings, Eugenia’s 3rd Street Hair Gallery, Green Electrical Supply, and Tyler Dumas Reyes Orthodontics.