Ice Alaska will not be hosting an ice-carving event this year, due to a lack of sponsorships and other organizational problems. But longtime ice-event organizers Dick and Hoa Brickley will be staging an alternate event, which opens one week from today.
The intricately carved and stunningly illuminated ice sculptures that have dazzled locals and tourists alike for the past 29 years will be on display in Fairbanks this year after all, says Dick Brickley, who until last year has helped organize the long-running World Ice Art Championships. But Ice Alaska wasn’t able to pull off the championships this year, and Brickley and his wife Hoa have parted ways with the organization and are putting on their own event.
“It’s the 2018 International Ice Art Exhibition and Kids Park,” Dick Brickley said.
Brickley says the Kids Park, which will open next Monday, will feature 34 slides for youngsters of different ages as well as an interactive display.
“So, plenty of things,” he said. “The Kids Park is about 10 city blocks of ice.”
Brickley says the ice-sculpture exhibits will open in the days that follow. He says all the carving will be done by March 10 and the Fairbanks Ice Park on Phillips Field Road will remain open ’til March 30. And he says it’ll be bigger than the 2017 event.
“Last year we had 34 sculptures in the single-block area; this year there’ll be 50,” he said. “Last year, we had 15 multi-block spaces filled; this year we’ll have 27. So, the entire park will be filled up with ice.”
Brickley says his event is attracting some of the top ice sculptors from around the world.
“We have the Chinese artists,” he said. “We have the Mongolian artists. Japanese artists, Russian artists – basically, from all over. Artists from the Lower 48 will be coming in within two weeks.”
Brickley says he was disappointed to hear that Ice Alaska wasn’t able to stage the World Ice Art Championships this year. Despite the contentious state of relations between the Brickleys and the Ice Art board members and volunteers, Dick Brickley says he hopes the organization will be able to resume the Ice Art Championships next year.
“I wish them the best of luck Competition is a wonderful thing,” he said, chuckling.
He says having his 2019 event and the ice art championships going on at or about the same time will be a boon for fans of ice sculpture.
“Sure! Yeah, the more people than can carve ice, the better – as long as it brings people to Fairbanks to enjoy it.”
Editor's note: Information about the 2018 International Ice Art Exhibition and Kids Park is available on the Brickleys' Fairbanks Ice Park website.