Snowtown USA is underway as sculptors carve all day

Published: Feb. 4, 2023 at 6:07 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - After Friday night’s fireworks, Snowtown USA is officially underway.

Saturday’s festivities kicked off in Brownville with a pancake breakfast at the American Legion.

“It’s nice to see people come out, have a good time. get breakfast. Just be out in the winter,” said Jamie Benner-Clemons.

Saturday’s main attraction: the snow sculpting competition. Friday’s weather put work on hold so sculptors rushed to finish before deadline.

“When it’s that cold, it’s hard to get anything done. You do what you can and then try to stay warm. You don’t want to put your health or safety at risk,” said Joshua Howland.

What makes someone brave subzero temperatures to scrape and chisel?

One sculptor tells us there’s beauty in art this short-lived.

“With artwork, a lot of times we’re trying to put our time and effort into something that is going to last forever. This, we know, is not going to. I think there’s something special about that,” said Kristy (Askins) Hoover.

Sculptures ranged in themes from superheroes, to whitewater rafts and even a cat cleaning itself in a less-than flattering position.

“Sketch pad is in front of me. Cat’s beside me licking himself. I was like ‘yeah, there’s a lot of interesting shapes there. I think we can do that’,” said Grae Haldeman.

Aside from the four competing pieces, one sculpture was dedicated to artist Klaus Ebeling, a well-known North Country artist who passed away recently.

He used to organize the snow sculpting for Snowtown USA.

“I say I’m a good friend and a sauna partner and a travel partner for the past 30 years. I’m hoping he enjoys our efforts here for the past 30 days,” said (Jerry Merrill, a friend of Ebeling’s.

Although the conditions are a bit better than Friday, it’s still pretty chilly. A lot of these folks say they’re going to be working on their sculptures through the night. So if you want to help out, stop by Thompson Park with hot coffee, tea, or even some hand warmers.