First Fridays provides big opening for Fire and Ice Festival

First Fridays host first night of Goshen Fire and Ice Festival

Posted on Jan. 5, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — The sixth annual Goshen Fire and Ice Festival had a successful kickoff Friday night in downtown Goshen as part of the city’s First Fridays.

Revelers braved the chilly weather to enjoy everything from ice carvings, courtesty of members of the Michiana Ice Carvers Association, to Pyrotation Nation fire dancers and marshmallow-roasting.

The evening peaked with a finale from a fire dancer while a bonfire was lit surrounded by a nearly eight-foot tall ice tower.

“We’ve got a great turnout this year,” said Gina Leichty of Downtown Goshen Inc. (DGI), the organization that runs First Fridays. “It’s chilly, which we love for the Fire and Ice Festival.”

Leichty said the event has grown each year and said putting on the event takes efforts from DGI, volunteers, the ice carvers and fire dancers, sponsors and downtown businesses.

“It’s truly a whole community effort,” Leichty noted. “Goshen’s really fortunate to have a downtown that attracts people.”

The Fire and Ice Festival continues today with events beginning at 10 a.m. for those who want more of the fire-and-ice-themed festivities.

The carving competition begins at 10 a.m. Contestants will be given blocks of ice to craft elaborate sculptures. Carvers of the top three sculptures will receive cash prizes.

The competition will be at at 234 S. Main St., Suite 4, with winners being announced at 2 p.m.

After the carving competition is under way, the Chili Fire Competition will begin, featuring several downtown restaurants.

Constant Spring, The Electric Brew, Elks Lodge 798, Maple City Market, Mattern’s Butcher Shop and Corner Deli, Rachel’s Bread and San Marcos will compete for the title of best chili.

The chili contest will run from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. A map of the Chili Fire Competition is available on the First Fridays website, cityonthego.org/first_fridays.

Those who wish to participate in judging must pick up tickets, which will be offered for free Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the Goshen Theater, 216 S. Main St. Only 250 tickets will be available.

A second winner will be chosen by a panel of four judges for the juried portion of the contest. Judges will include Mayor Allan Kauffman, Truth food columnist Marshall King, Michelle Scherpenberg of South Bend Foodies and Tara Swartzendruber-Landis, recipe editor of Edible Michiana.

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