Meltdown stars ice artists in Richmond

It’s a high-energy event with a cool twist — 22 tons of ice.

Elaborate ice sculptures will transform Richmond’s Historic Depot District into a winter wonderland for the second annual Meltdown Winter Ice Festival on Friday and Saturday. Visitors will watch multi-award winning ice carvers Buddy “Burr” Rasmussen, Rolando De La Garza (aka “Reverend Butter”), Dean DeMarias, Danny Bloss, Aaric Kendall, Shannon White and Andrew Thistlethwaite use chain saws to turn 300-pound ice blocks into awe-inspiring works of outdoor art.

“Anybody can carve ice, but it takes talent to sculpt ice,” Reverend Butter said.

Highly competitive Ice Fight Challenges take place from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Friday events: paint and take souvenirs, snowflake factory winter workshop, Celebrity Chili Cook-off and Cork and Canvas. Saturday events: Freeze Your Buns Off Fun Run, meet the ice carvers at breakfast, paint/take souvenirs, Frozen Fairy Trail, Snowflake Factory Winter Workshop, Blue Heron Singers, Live Music Festival, craft party/book launch with Chuck Avery and awards/crowning Ceremony. Both days feature Veach’s Game Day and a Meltdown Warmup at Grassroots Center. Family activities include an interactive ice park.

Last year’s inaugural event drew over 5,000 visitors. Ice sculptures will remain on display, weather permitting.

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