ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- For some, this time of the year means gearing up for a warm party on Bourbon Street, but Minnesotans in Rochester have found another way to celebrate in February.
Thursday was the first night of Social ICE, an outdoor celebration on Peace Plaza that's part of the 11th annual Winterfest.
It may only be the first day, but attendees were already picking favorites.
Some liked hot chocolate and apple cider, but others preferred cold drinks spiked with jalapeno.
The downtown party has a number of cocktail choices from seven different 12-foot-long ice sculpted bars, each staffed by a local downtown establishment.
Tessa Leung is the owner of Sontes and one of the creators of Social ICE, so in the last 5 years, she's seen it grow from crowds of 40 or 50 to the celebration it is today.
"It's fun to see that Rochester can grow like this and they really like fun events and I think it just took a little bit of 'hey let's give it a try,' and it's taken off amazing. It's like the Thursday's on first of the winter," Leung said.
While the community and state are discussing the Rochester and Destination Medical Center, everyone we talked to said this event is the right way to go for adding more culture to the changing face of downtown.
"Rochester's becoming a very artistic community and I like to see the art of the sculptures and it's a lot of fun," said Cara Petersen, who attended.
The sculptures are ice, like almost everything else on Peace Plaza, but this isn't a state or a community that's afraid of the cold. If you are, there's plenty of hot chocolate and cider to go around.
"Come down. Show you're a true Minnesotan. Even if you're not. Act like you are. Get a hot drink. and meet your neighbors," said Leung.
If you missed out Thursday, Social ICE will be taking place again Friday and Saturday nights from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. with live ice carving until 6 p.m. and live music starting at 7:30 p.m.
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