“I want to be the witch, Mom!”

TURN RIGHT OUT OF of the three-story lighthouse, walk between the ice cream cones topped with cherries and pass beneath the candy canes, and one of the first things you see is Hansel and Gretel’s cabin complete with witch. This witch has a cutout where her face should be, so that people can have their pictures taken in it. “I want to be the witch, Mom!” a little girl says, and shortly she is clutching the sides of the ice witch with her purple mittens and peering out of the witch’s face as cameras click. I have to say she doesn’t look like much of a threat to Hansel and Gretel, standing a few feet away.

What makes this Kiddie Land different from the one at any other theme park is that this witch is carved from ice. So is her cottage, and her cauldron, and Hansel and Gretel, and the lighthouse and the ice cream cones and everything else I’m writing about in this column.

My friend Rhonda Sleighter and I are in Fairbanks at the Ice Park, a large, fenced wooded area where for the next month forty amateur and professional ice carvers will vie with one another to carve realistic, abstract and fantastical figures out of three-by-five-by-eight foot blocks of ice. It began seventy years ago with the carving of an ice throne for winter festival royalty, was formally institutionalized as the World Ice Art Championships in 1992, and today, Kiddie Land is just for starters. Let’s take a walk down Goosebump Path, shall we?

Alaska Traveler Chatter

Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

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