LEWISTON — A downtown courtyard will be transformed next month into a frozen party plaza, featuring three ice bars, an igloo, food, music and an 8-foot-tall Sasquatch sculpted in ice.
"It's not a ferocious looking Sasquatch," Lawrence, Mass., ice sculptor Don Chapelle said Tuesday. "It's kind of a happy, I've-had-a-couple-of-glasses-of-beer-looking Sasquatch."
Festival organizers hope the ice spectacle, food and drink will help draw big crowds on Feb. 22, 23 and 24. Proceeds will go to L/A Arts.
It will be in Fountain Park in the Bates Mill Complex, behind DaVinci's Eatery at 150 Mill St.
Local restaurants, including DaVinci's, Fish Bones American Grill, Fuel, Sea 40, Wei-Li, and Mother India, all plan to prepare food for the festival, serving mostly hors d'oeuvres to attendees. Saturday night, Feb. 23, will feature a performance by the Three Point Jazz Trio.
And bartenders behind three 8-foot-long bars will serve drinks.
One will feature beer from Baxter Brewing and Gritty McDuff's. Another will be operated by Sequin Wine. The third will serve martinis featuring Pinnacle Vodka.
More than a dozen sponsors, including DaVinci's and Roopers, have also commissioned standing sculptures. The Sasquatch was commissioned by Roopers owner Steve Roop. DaVinci's Eatery has hired Chapelle to create life-sized Vespa scooters, like the ones displayed throughout the restaurant.
The ice idea came from DaVinci's owner Jules Patry and his bar manager, Brian Magnin.
The guys visited an ice event at the Portland Harbor Hotel last year. They figured the idea would easily transfer to Lewiston-Auburn.
"I thought it was something that could work and be a lot of fun," Magnin said. "It could be a fun event for the community at the end of the winter when the weather's getting pretty old."
DaVinci's will open up its function space to host most of the food vendors, Magnin said. He expects that as many as 300 people at a time will comfortably fit in the courtyard and the restaurant.
Plans call for events from 5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 22 and 23 , and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Admission to the evenings will be $10 each and limited to people 21 years and older. The daytime event will be free admission.
Along with paid admission, people will be given two tickets toward beverages at the bar. A beer will cost two tickets. A glass of wine will cost three, and a martini will cost four tickets.
Luke Livingston, the owner of Baxter Brewing, said he is looking forward to taking part.
"When we were asked, it was a no-brainer," Livingston said. "It's all about Lewiston-Auburn and community."
The sculptor said the bars are already under construction. The ice is being made in his Lawrence facility, which can make about 22,000 pounds of carving ice.
When they are complete and put into place they will survive at least three or four days, he said. His enemy is direct sunlight and temperatures that exceed 27 degrees, he said.
For now, he is working on the designs of the bars. His web site, brillianticesculpture.com, includes a wide variety of past designs, from sports team logos to a James Bond-themed bar to one that resembles a Mardi Gras mask.
Chapelle said he was unsure exactly what the Lewiston bars will look like but they will carry at least one of his trademarks.
"These bars will have items frozen into them, from the liquor companies and the venues," Chapelle said.
For more information on the festival, check out its website, icefestla.com.