ST. CLAIR SHORES — Organizers are working hard to beat the winter blues with a bigger and better Aqua Freeze Festival in February.
This year’s festival — with an Oscar theme in honor of the final day of the festival landing on Oscar Sunday — is Feb. 20-22 at Blossom Heath Park, east of Jefferson Avenue and south of 10 Mile Road.
The event will kick off at 5 p.m. Feb. 20 and run until 10 p.m. that night, with an ice sculpture of Marilyn Monroe along Jefferson Avenue to welcome visitors to walk the red carpet — complete with paparazzi — to the festival. And with a heated beer and wine tent twice the size of the one used in the inaugural festival, organizers are hoping many will come out to sample beverages, coffee liqueurs and more, and enjoy the lineup of bands set to play the festival.
The festival will also be open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Feb. 21 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 22.
Organizer and owner of Embroidery & Much More Linda Bologna said that they’re still looking for sponsors for ice sculptures and the other expenses incurred by the festival. They’ll be trying to hold pond hockey games, she said, and also have ice bowling and the sledding hill again, which was a success in 2014.
There will also be live ice-carving demonstrations and a competition between culinary arts students for entertainment. A polar plunge begins at 2 p.m. Feb. 22.
New this year are horse-drawn wagon rides from 1-5 p.m. Feb. 21, children’s crafts and face painting on the weekend afternoons, visits from Frozen’s Anna and Elsa Feb. 21, and hand-warmers and sleds available for sale from the St. Clair Shores Parade Committee.
Plenty of food will be available throughout the event, with cod from Pat O’Briens the night of Feb. 20 — the first Friday in Lent — as well as pizza. Throughout Saturday afternoon, there will be coneys and other food available from the St. Clair Shores Optimists Club and Little Z’s BBQ, and St. Isaac Jogues Church will host a barbecue Saturday night. Breakfast will also be available both weekend mornings, and there will be hot coffee for sale in the park, as well.
“I want to thank all the musicians and the bands ... who stepped up, volunteering their times, efforts, their bands’ time, to help put this on,” said festival committee member Dave Rubello.
Bands on tap include The Detroit Hemis, the Orbitsuns, The Ohmbres, Spys Like Us and Whiplash.
“It’s a pretty strong lineup,” Rubello said.
And at the end of the festival, there will be a pasta dinner inside the renovated Blossom Heath Inn put on by Kosch Catering.
The committee is still in need of about $10,000 in donations, though, said organizer Geri Hofmann.
To help defray costs, the committee is holding a fundraiser at 9 p.m. Jan. 17 at Harbor Lanes, 25419 Jefferson Ave. Three games of bowling, shoe rental and pizza will cost $20 per person. Businesses and others are also encouraged to sponsor a lane for $40; a business ad or personal message will be displayed on an overhead scoring monitor for Jan. 15-17 at the alley.
“We need donations to pay for the ice sculptures, (and) the tent is bigger this year with more heat, so those are all added expenses,” Hofmann said.
To book a lane or purchase an ad, contact Hofmann at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (586) 879-7712.
To register for the Polar Plunge, and for more information on the Aqua Freeze Festival, visit www.scsaquafreezefest.com. Donation checks made out to the City of St. Clair Shores, with Aqua Freeze in the memo line, can be sent to Embroidery & Much More, 27419 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores, MI 48081, or to Geri Hofmann at 22851 Lake Shore Drive, St. Clair Shores, MI 48080.