Ice Fest Attracts Visitors Who Embrace Frigid Weather

Published: Jan. 18, 2016 at 9:44 PM CST
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The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium hosted its annual Ice Fest this weekend. The event featured snow and ice sculptures, sledding and other winter-related activities.

Like many businesses, January is typically the museum's slowest month. Museum directors say a way to remind people who tend to want to hibernate when it's this cold, to instead celebrate the season.

Braving the deep January freeze is a way of life for Hugh McCarron.

McCarron said, "It's a nice was to express yourself. It's an art form."

While Monday's extreme cold was even a little much for the professional snow sculptor, he's still embracing Iowa's weather

"Iowa has four seasons. Get out and enjoy them," said McCarron.

Beyond ice and snow sculpting, the museum hosted outdoor winter games, sledding and ice harvesting.

Museum Education Director Mark Wagner said, "We had 10 inches of nice, thick ice that could support all of us out on the ice."

Roger Poling and his three kids spent the day in and outside the museum. Ice Fest brought the Dubuque family to the museum.

Poling said, "As a kid we were never allowed inside all day. It was always, 'go outside and play.' That's what I grew up doing and I'd like the kids to have that opportunity outside as well."

On Monday the museum was crawling with families hoping to experience a little joy during a dark and cold time. It was a welcome change for a frigid winter afternoon.

Wagner said, "Some schools are out and people are out and it's really good for a Monday. It's really dog gone good. "