GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — The Gallia-Vinton Educational Service Center (ESC) is bringing a new event to the area to encourage family engagement.
The Gallia Winterfest will be held Feb. 19 at Gallipolis City Park.
“This entire event started with us trying to come up with creative ideas to encourage family engagement,” said David Moore, education consultant. “And our whole idea behind this event is to encourage families of those students who attend our after-school programs in both the city and Gallia local school districts.”
The Gallia-Vinton ESC focuses on supporting student achievement and collaborative efforts by enhancing the capacity of schools and the community through a number of different services, according to their website.
While the event originated for the after-school families, it is a public event.
“We’ve also opened it up for the entire community because we want everybody to have the opportunity to enjoy the different sculptures,” Moore said.
During the event, Whistler Ice Works will have a number of ice sculptures set up around Gallipolis City Park for visitors to enjoy.
Owner and artist of Whistler Ice Works, Tyson Whistler, will also perform an ice sculpture demonstration at noon.
Moore said the idea was inspired after meeting Whistler at the Marietta Winterfest, where businesses sponsored sculptures of their own chosen design.
While Moore said they are not asking for sponsorship right now, they have reached out to local businesses to encourage them to be open for the day, inviting visitors to see all that downtown Gallipolis has to offer.
First Street will be closed to traffic during the event. A portable, synthetic ice skating ring will be set up to allow the community to enjoy winter ice skating. The rink holds about 75 skaters at a time, according to Moore.
“Ice skates and everything is provided,” Moore said. “There’ll be instructors there or staff who will actually run the rink itself. They’ll be able to help them get their skates on and [they’ll] probably give them some tips on how to ice skate.”
Ice skating and sculptures are not the only thing Winterfest will have for the community.
A human snow globe will be setup, allowing people to step inside and take pictures inside the globe.
A Freedom trackless train will be available for rides.
“Similar to the train, if you’ve ever been to the mall,” Moore said. “I think it’s about the same size, but they say adults can ride it as well. The train [is] going to go throughout the park.”
A synthetic curling rink will be set up. A slap shot hockey game will take place, as well.
“[We] also have a slap shot hockey, where people can take their shots and shoot, hitting a hockey puck,” Moore said.
There will also be a penguin toss, where penguins will be knocked down with a synthetic snow ball.
Kona Ice will be set up for the event offering free snow cones. The Three Dots Mobile Bar and Co. will also be set up offering hot chocolate and cookies to guests.
During the event there will be a number of “chill bags” given out to guests, while supplies last, and a few door prizes throughout the day.
Moore said for those who may be unable to attend the Winterfest event, the ice sculptures will remain in the park for people to enjoy until they melt.
The event is one setup for the entire family to enjoy together, but Moore believes the ice sculptures alone are reason to come out.
“Mr. Whistler will be doing an ice sculpture demonstration, that’s something in itself to see,” Moore said. “But I think once they see the ice sculptures on display, I think they will really be impressed.”
Moore said the entire event is free to the public.
As mentioned above, the event is Feb. 19 from noon to 4 p.m. at Gallipolis City Park. The ice sculpture demonstration will be at noon.
The event is sponsored by Gallia-Vinton ESC, Gallia County Job and Family Services, Gallia County Commissioners and the City of Gallipolis.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.