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Ice carving kicks off annual Festival of Lights

The 12th Annual Fairgrounds Festival of Lights celebrates opening weekend with an international ice carving competition with 11 teams from around the world.

The Great Lakes International Ice Carving Competition will host 22 competitors – two on each team – who will begin sawing, chiseling and crafting 26.4 tons of ice at 5 p.m. Friday.  The duos will compete for $10,000 in cash prizes over the three-day competition, which marks its second year this weekend. Each team will be given 32 hours and 4,800 pounds of ice to create a cohesive design.

Public viewing of the carving process begins at 5 p.m. Friday and concludes on Sunday at 6 p.m. Awards will be distributed at 8 p.m. Sunday. Afterwards, the ice sculptures will remain on display for public viewing throughout the run of the Festival over the next four weekends. Beginning with Friday, the winter event continues Dec. 2nd through 4th; Dec. 9th through 11th; and Dec. 16th through 23rd.

New this year is Frosty's 3D Adventure, a 3,000-square-foot walk through a maze highlighting a day with Frosty. In addition, Santa Claus will meet guests on the front porch of his North Pole home, and youngsters can participate in Milk for Health, a staged television game show. Every child called onto stage wins something. And  there will be kiddie rides, train rides and a Winterland workshop where children can make crafts to take home.

The Festival will be held at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg and is open from 5 to 9 p.m. with buildings and grounds staying open until 10 p.m. Admission – which includes the ice carving, six decorated buildings, live family entertainment, craft-making and vendors – is $25 per carload at the gate.

For more information on the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights, go to



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