Ice carvers prepare for SocialICE - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Ice carvers prepare for SocialICE

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Armed with chainsaws, chisels and a whole arsenal of other tools, it's down to the wire for the ice men working to make SocialICE a reality.

"If we have to work all night, we'll work all night," said Nick Lensing, one of the ice carvers.

They're building seven bars, plus all the benches, tables, sculptures and everything needed to pull the party off.

"It's usually a three month, four month process just getting all the pieces put together," Lensing said.

After meeting with the restaurants responsible for manning the bars and finalizing all the designs, its time to start building up and carving down.

"We figure out how many blocks we need to do the design that they need, and we start by leveling out the ground and just kind of building up based upon what their design is," Lensing said.

In the end, it turns out to be a pretty grand party, but way back when, it started much smaller.

"I was part of the first one, the eight foot bar or six foot bar that we did," Lensing said.

Now in six years they've grown from two ice carvers to a team of four and turned a small party on the plaza to one of the most memorable weekends of the year.

"Its nice to be part of something like this that so many people look forward to even in the middle of June or July," Lensing said. "I have people come up and say 'So are you guys getting ready for SocialICE? What's going on? I can't wait.' It's kind of ironic because right now we're talking about how we can't wait to get to warm weather."

But no complaints about the weather from these guys. They say the single digit temps are just about perfect for ice carving and keeping their hard work frozen.

"You just layer up," Lensing said. "Layer up and keep moving."

That means the frigid temps this winter are a good thing.

It takes about 45,000 pounds of ice to put on the event, and it just wouldn't be any fun if there was a risk any of that it would melt.

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