Saturday dawned cold and bright, but an early wind-chill warning didn't deter the toughest area residents from snow-sculpting, sledding and skating their way through the second annual Winterfest event in Pinehurst Park.
Abigail Whipple and Haley Carlson knew which snow sculpture they were voting for at Saturday's event - "A House" by the Pokornowski family - because it was the only creation they could enjoy both inside and out.
If only they could take it home with them.
Whipple, 8, and Carlson, 7, climbed up the stairs inside the snow house, admired the pictures on the walls and poked faces reddened by the wind out the upstairs window.
Meanwhile, about a half block away, a crew of folks from Heartland Homes in Duluth continued chipping away at their four-sided heart sculpture.
"We came for about two hours this morning, and then went back [to Duluth] for supplies and came back again," explained Heartland's Keith Richards. "We missed the voting, but we're going to get this done."
More than 100 people came out to enjoy the snow sculptures and vote for their favorite.
"There would have been three times that number had the weather not been so cold," said Sara Liimatainen, director of Cloquet Community Education and Recreation. "But the whole day was really fun, very upbeat."
Rather than using judges, the winners were determined by people's choice voting. Liimatainen said people (artists and onlookers) voted for their choice of first, second and third place in a weighted voting contest. When the votes were tallied, there was a tie for first place: between "Angel" by Dan Savoye and "Yellow Submarine" by Team Community Connect, made up of Louisa Barlage, April Umshler, Christina Voeltz and Tanya Erdman. Second place went to "Elephant" by Esko art teacher Adam Kemptar, while third place went to the Pokornowski family, for their snow house (which is sometimes lit at night by an ice candle, Liimatainen said).
Viewing all of the sculptures does require travel by foot or by car. While several are grouped near the parking lot in Pinehurst Park, there are at least three more sculptures at the top of the hill above the swimming pond, and more along the roadway parallel to Highway 33.
"Tim [Young] really focused on getting other people out there to make sculptures with him," Liimatainen said. "He did a great job of organizing it and getting people to come."
For those who got the sculpting bug too late for the contest, a few blocks remain untouched. If you want to claim one, Liimatainen said, just make sure to call Young first at 218-590-8880, to make sure that block isn't already taken. Participation ribbons will still be awarded to those who complete a sculpture.
And the Winterfest 2011 winners are...
First place (tie)
by Team Community Connect (Louisa Barlage,
April Umshler, Christina Voeltz and Tanya Erdman)
"Angel" by Dan Savoye
"Elephant" by Adam Kemptar
"A House" by the Pokornowski Family
(Brent, Evan, Tim, Markus and Madelyn)