L/A Arts to celebrate cold with bigger, hairier ice festival in Lewiston

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LEWISTON — One year after crowds overwhelmed L/A Arts’ inaugural Ice Festival of Lewiston/Auburn — drawing thousands to mingle and munch among ice bars and sculptures — organizers have ordered more music, more food, more drink and more ice.

In all, five sculptors will deliver six ice bars, a dozen business logos and an ice throne. They’ll also revive last year’s most popular image: Sasquatch.

“Last year, everyone wanted to get their picture with Sasquatch,” said Michael Dostie, an L/A Arts board member who is working on the event. “Sasquatch is coming back. He’s going to have a new pose. He’s going to bring two 8-foot friends.”

The aim — for Sasquatch fans and ice fans alike — is to meet the demand, Dostie said.

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“Our expectations going into last year were that we would have somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 to 400 people for each of the first two nights,” Dostie said. “For the first two nights combined, we had just over 2,000 people.” And despite a snowstorm on the final afternoon, about 500 people attended.

Food ran out. People complained about long lines and too little space.

It led organizers to widen the festival this year, scheduled for Feb. 21-23, and celebrate the cold.

“You might as well embrace the winter if you’re going to be polar-vortexed, anyway,” said Josh Vink, executive director of L/A Arts.

This year, the festival will occupy the whole of Fountain Plaza between DaVinci’s Eatery and TD Bank in the Bates Mill complex. Admission will guarantee hors d’oeuvres from one of the sponsoring restaurants, and the total number of tickets will be strictly capped at 1,000 per night.

Already, more than one-third of the tickets have been sold, Dostie said. If the festival runs out of tickets, people will be prohibited from entering, he warned.

“If we’re sold out, we’re sold out,” he said. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. The festival will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb 22. A $25-per-ticket VIP session will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. There will also be a free-admission family day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23.

On Friday and Saturday, the six bars will feature beverages by Baxter Brewing, Belle Ambiance Wines, Simply Naked Wines, Jim Beam, Pinnacle Vodka and Shock Top.

Food will come from at least 25 restaurants, including DaVinci’s, The Green Ladle, Bates College, Mac’s Grill, Gridiron, Naral’s, the Bread Shack, the Fire House Grille and Mother India.

Entertainment is slated to include fire spinners on Friday and Three Point Jazz on Saturday. On Sunday, storyteller Antonio Rocha and singer/songwriter Martin Swinger will perform.

Proceeds will be benefit L/A Arts. The money will aid efforts throughout the community such as Lewiston Art Walks, free summer concerts, community galleries and Arts in Education programming.

“We’re bringing the best of the arts to the community so that everyone can enjoy it,” Vink said.

dhartill@sunjournal.com

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