Ice sculpture fest envisioned for Lake George

LAKE GEORGE Some time ago, the village mayor chatted with a man at the Holiday Inn bar and their conversation turned to the fragile but breathtaking beauty of ice sculptures and how it would be a dream come true if an ice-carving event were launched in Lake George. Mayor Robert Blais may not have known he was talking to the accomplished, award-winning ice sculptor Earl Covington from Mamaroneck, N.Y. But Covington, on the other hand, had no idea he was talking to Lake Georges long-tenured mayor. Now, the two are working together to transform their dreams into reality. Covington said he is arranging for about a half-dozen of his fellow artisans of the National Ice Carving Association to spend a week in Lake George creating sculptures for winter visitors and residents to enjoy. The event would include a friendly competition among the sculptors, Covington said, and the public would cast their votes for their favorite ice carving based on various criteria. Ice competitions in the U.S., Canada, Japan and Alaska have attracted thousands of people to their host communities, Covington and Blais said. The two suggested that the competition might be expanded annually to include companion public installations and activities so the event would develop into full festival proportions. I think we could build around it to make it into an event that would really extend our winter season here in the village, Blais said. Patricia Joyce of Glens Falls -- who organized two annual competitions in snow-sculpting, a related art form, in Glens Falls City Park -- offered her thoughts on both forms of frigid artistry. People were stunned, she said recalling the large, enthusiastic crowds that watched the snow-carving events . These sculptors are very creative in their artistic expressions, beyond what you would imagine. She predicted that thousands might be likewise drawn to Lake George for a similar event. Blais said he and Covington are aiming for a date in January, perhaps as soon as next year. Backed with 20 years of experience as an ice sculptor, Covington and a collaborating sculptor carved their way to 2nd place in the 1997 World Ice Art Championship competition in Alaska. He also won an Emmy award in 2004 involving production design for elaborate stages, figurines and backdrops he created out of ice for ABC Sports. Monday, Covington said that arrangements for the proposed Lake George ice sculpture event were progressing. The plan is to go forward for next year, he said. Well bring up a very talented group of competitors, great talent, and put on a really good show. He said his sculptor friends loved to dream up creative, innovative sculptures that intrigue people and fuel their imagination. I know theyll do some stuff in Lake George thats just unbelievable.

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