The Fairbanks Ice Park on Phillips Field Road is open for visitors. For the second year, the former home of the World Ice Art Championships is operating as a private business, featuring a children’s park and plans for 90 ice carvings at the Brickley’s Ice Art Park.
The kid’s park is the main attraction at Ice Art Park. Interactive sculptures are coming together now and slides are already being used. The kids’ park will be finished before the official opening on February 19th. In the meantime, the park is encouraging the Three Es:
“There’s Exercise, and then there’s Education. The Education part comes with the slides. We’re calling it Slide-a-Mile.”
Olivia Esera says the third E is Ethics, reporting honestly how many “slide miles” children can rack up on the long chutes made of ice.
Esera runs the office and takes tickets and is a mom for Boy Scout Troop 38, which is helping with snow clearing and set-up. She says among the various websites and Facebook pages for the Fairbanks Ice Park, North Pole’s Christmas in Ice, and the decades-old World Ice Art Championships, now at the Fairgrounds, folks can get a bit confused.
“A lot of them are Googling. We had some workers from Alaska Airlines, and they said the Uber driver was getting fed up with them, ‘cause they were trying to get here. They went to Ice Alaska, over on College Road. They ended up at the Ice Museum downtown. Finally the driver said, ‘I think I know where you are going’.”
Dick Brickley and his wife Hoa Brickley currently own the land at 3570 Phillips Field Road. It used to host the non-profit Ice Alaska and now it’s the Brickley’s business, Ice Art Park. Confused?
“We’re lucky in Fairbanks, because we have two different ice events. Fairbanks is the ice sculpting capital of the world.”
Dick Brickley is enthusiastic about the options.
“We’re really celebrating the winter.”
Brickley says there will be 90 sculptures completed in his park by March 10. A lot of the ice carvers from Japan, Russia, China, and Mongolia are involved with both Fairbanks ice events.
Vitaly Lednev is the principal art designer for the children’s park. He’s been coming to Fairbanks for decades to compete in the World Ice Art Championships, but he has always “warmed up” before by building children’s ice features here on this parcel.
“I plan to be in the competition on Ice Alaska, sure, because it’s almost 20 years I’m coming. But before, it’s like, I don’t know, my tradition, I make for Kids’ Park. It’s good practice for me so it’s standard routine.”
The Ice Art Park is open seven days a week 10 am. to 10 p.m. until March 31.