Fire and Ice Night returns for a third time to kick off Marietta Main Street’s new season of First Friday events in Downtown Marietta on Friday, January 4th. A favorite theme, the Fire and Ice Festival features expertly carved ice sculptures on display throughout downtown, hot chocolate and treat stops, extended shopping hours, special events and in-store promotions.

This year’s event is sponsored by Glenwood Retirement Community. “We are strong supporters of Marietta and its surrounding communities given 80% of our residents move to Glenwood from right here in the Mid-Ohio Valley,” said Laura Miller, Director of Marketing.

Once again, one local artist will be responsible for each ice sculpture on display. Tyson Whistler, head chef at Glenwood Retirement Community, started preparing ice blocks months in advance to be carved for this event.

“Tyson brings the same amount of creativity to his cuisine as he does to his ice sculptures. We are proud of Tyson and fully support his engagement in the Fire and Ice Festival, and what better way to show support than sponsoring this event that spotlights his talents and Marietta’s beautiful downtown?” Laura said.

It is always fun to watch Tyson turn a block of ice into a work of art .

Community members, visitors and downtown merchants alike look forward to seeing what Tyson creates for this year’s festival. “The ice sculptures that Tyson carves are so beautiful,” said Debbie Cline, Co-Owner of Twisted Sisters Boutique and Marietta Main Street Board Member. “It is always fun to watch Tyson turn a block of ice into a work of art. He will be carving live at Gateway Park on the corner of Front and Butler Streets.”

Tyson has been involved with the Fire and Ice Festival from the beginning, and has helped it grow each year. “Art has always been a huge part of my life, I have been drawing and painting since I was a child, but found the medium of ice about 14 years ago while working in the culinary field,” said Tyson. Over the years, Tyson has continued to learn new techniques and hone his carving skills. “When I first started carving, I did three to five a year. Now I make between 20 and 30 sculptures a year, learning and re-investing that knowledge into the next piece.”

The positive feedback and support from the community is what drives me to continue to raise the bar and produce quality sculptures.

Although a lot of prep work goes into the event, Tyson looks forward to event each and every year. “I enjoy doing this event because it is an opportunity to give the community a chance to see a unique art form that many have never seen, as well as give our local businesses the ability to sponsor a sculpture and incorporate the art into their ideas to drive locals downtown,” he said. “The positive feedback and support from the community is what drives me to continue to raise the bar and produce quality sculptures.”

More than a dozen sculptures will be on display throughout Downtown from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, each a unique design inspired by the sponsoring business or an important cause.

“Fire and Ice has already become a popular annual event and we’re excited to participate,” said Laura Pytlik, Owner of Wit & Whimzy. “Wit & Whimzy is partnering with Green Acres to sponsor an ice sculpture that will promote the Humane Society.”

To help shoppers warm up, several shops will be offering hot chocolate or tea, including The Galley, Teri Ann’s, Green Acres, Jeremiah’s Coffee House, and the Busy Bee, who will be set up on the Armory Lawn.

First Friday events in downtown Marietta feature different themes each month as a fun way to keep the community engaged throughout the year. Although Fire and Ice is a returning theme, several of this year’s themes are new, including the literary-inspired Reading Rainbow in March and Who’s Your Hero? In November, honoring those who inspire us the most. The full 2019 First Friday schedule can be found on the Marietta Main Street website and Facebook page.