Déjà vu for snow festivals
Work week warm-up melts away snow sculpting competition
RACINE - Monument Square was supposed to be filled with snow and sculptures for this weekend's The Big Chill event, but Mother Nature has other plans.
December snow had many excited for the return of winter, snow sculptors were itching to get back to carving, especially after last year’s winter that almost wasn’t. “I was thinking last year that it couldn't duplicate itself, I was thinking maybe this year we'll walk in and there will be 20 inches of snow on the ground and we'll be ready to go,” The Big Chill director Jeff Shawhan explains.
But the snow they’ve already made is melting away. It’s a bad case of déjà vu for the Wisconsin State Snow Sculpting Championship. “The Big Chill is in the same spot it was in last year. We're at the point now where the weather's gotten so warm, hard to make the snow,” Shawhan admits.
Even though it feels a lot more like winter in Wisconsin, rain and 40s in the forecast and green grass showing across Racine is not a welcome sight for snow sculptors. Shawhan says sculptors can barely carve in this kind of weather, “Almost to that point, they start carving the snow, it becomes almost like carving mashed potatoes where it doesn't hold anything and it just falls apart.”
And so are plans to host the championship this weekend. Just like in 2012, organizers are postponing The Big Chill for one week, hoping the forecast lives up to the event’s name. “25 degrees is just awesome, that's cold enough to let the sculptors sculpt and it's warm enough to have people come out and watch,” explains Shawhan.
As long as colder temperatures return to the forecast, Shawhan says they will create man-made snow so the competition can go on. “We'll start making the snow come Monday (the 14th) hopefully and we'll truck it all up to the square here and start packing the blocks and have them ready to go on Friday (the 18th) afternoon.”
But in the meantime, even Shawhan is enjoying the more mild weather, “It's kind of nice, it's one less day of winter.”