At the University of Akron Wednesday, students were sitting high on a throne, a 1,600-pound throne of ice, in the likeness of the school mascot Zippy.
It was a part of a winter celebration called Ice Fest.
The award-winning student Garde Manger Club and ice-carving team and alumni fashioned an array of birds, bears, dogs, and a Zips men’s soccer player in an action pose outside and inside the Student Union.
In its sixth year, Ice Fest is a prominent community event for the Hospitality Management Department.
It includes a speed ice-carving contest, vegetable- and fruit-carving gallery by the 2012 national champion club, a sculpting contest by the ice-carving team and guest appearances from the UA men’s soccer team.
Hall of fame ice sculptor Chef Richard Alford, associate professor emeritus of hospitality management, teaches carving techniques.
“I teach ice, vegetable, fruit, cheese, chocolate sculpting. Anything that is carvable I teach it,” said Alford.
Alford competed against fellow sculptors and alumni Jeff Myers and Aaron Costic, a 2006 gold medalist in speed sculpting.
Each creation was carved from a 300-pound ice block by drills and various tools and buffed by a flame torch within a 20-minute time frame.
Students chose Costic’s octopus over Myers’ dog and Alford’s saxophone in the judging.
Alford will be taking two ice-carving teams to a national championship event this weekend in Frankenmuth, Mich. Team members will be: Allison Smith, Akron Early College; Jennifer Bogard and George Niemoeller, second-year students, and Caleb Landis, a first-year student.
Costic and Myers judged their work on a 300-pound block Wednesday and declared Niemoeller the winner. His prize was tickets to an Aeros baseball game.
“This feels like the coldest day of the year,” said Stan Silverman, associate provost and dean of Summit College.
“If the weather permits, these sculptures will decorate the campus for about three weeks.”
Marisha Daniels can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.