It’s not about the lack of snow on the ground. It’s the lack of cold.
Yes, the Rockford Park District announced Thursday that its 37th Annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition scheduled for Jan. 18 to 21 at Sinnissippi Park has been postponed until Feb. 8 to 11.
Years ago, the annual competition that attracts thousands of participants and spectators from across Illinois relied on Mother Nature and area snowfall to provide teams with their blank canvases, a 6-foot-by-6-foot-by-10-foot block of compressed snow.
Today, the competition relies on manmade snow, but in order to make it — it needs to be cold, consistently cold with low humidity as opposed to the warmer, wet conditions the Rockford area has been experiencing.
“Warmer winter temperatures and recent rainy conditions have made it nearly impossible to make enough manmade snow for the competition to take place in January. Making our own snow provides more pristine snow with a much better consistency for our sculptors to utilize, and some prefer it. Over the years, we have also learned that manmade snow provides a better viewing experience for the community to enjoy these snow masterpieces.
“We are optimistic that pushing the event back will allow for some colder weather to move into the area and give us enough time to make our own snow,” said Kellie Olivencia, Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition Coordinator, in a news release from the Rockford Park District.
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This year’s competition will feature 13 state teams and 13 high school teams. The winner of last year’s Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition will also carve an exhibition sculpture.
The winner will represent Illinois in the US National Snow Sculpting Competition in 2024. An awards ceremony is scheduled now for 1 pm Feb 11.
The free, family-friendly event hosted by the Rockford Park District has been postponed several times in its 37-year history and has been canceled three times. Sculptures are created and then on display along the path in Sinnissippi Park.
Completed sculptures can be viewed from sunrise until 10:30 pm Attendees can walk or drive through. The sculptures remain in the park for as long as weather allows.