Ice carvers forge ahead for 9th annual SocialICE, despite warm t - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Ice carvers forge ahead for 9th annual SocialICE, despite warm temperatures

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

Despite fears of warmer temperatures this year, the ice bars will be open on Thursday just as planned.

Ice carvers arrived early in Peace Plaza on Wednesday to work on blocks of ice 15 feet wide and 8 feet tall. There are seven participating bars this year, each bar will have its own signature drink along with special lighting effects. There will also DJ's, wine and beer.

This year, SocialICE is partnering with Mayo Clinic and the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee to present the 2018 Super Bowl theme, 'Bold North.' Visitors can take selfies at themed stations or use the ice sculptures as a backdrop and enter a photo contest. They will have a chance to win one of four $50 gift cards to one of the seven participating ice bars, or win a $200 grand prize.

One of the main concerns this year was weather. Last year, the warm temperatures had melted the ice sculptures. This year however, precautions were taken on Wednesday afternoon and the sculptures were covered with special blankets to keep them melting.

"We're still gonna keep forging ahead," said Trevor Pearson, with Metro Ice Sculptures. "And then overnight everything looks like it's supposed to be getting below freezing." Pearson has been carving sculptures for SocialICE for 7 years, and this year he worked on an ice fisherman sculpture made out of eight blocks of ice, weighing in at a total of 1 ton.

Visitors can vote for their favorite ice bar, and the winning bar will be dubbed the SocialICE Champion, and guarantee a spot in next year's social ice. Last year there were 35,000 visitors over the course of three days.

The bars will be open on Thursday at 5 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday at 4 p.m.

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