Snowy Hailey Town Center

Hailey's newly approved ice-art festival aims to make the most of wintry conditions. The inaugural event will take place right outside Hailey City Hall.

The Hailey City Council unanimously approved a joint application from the city and Chamber of Commerce for Hailey’s first ever “Snow Art” outdoor ice-carving festival, to be held outside City Hall in February.

The event will take place on West Croy Street, between the Hailey Public Library and the Old Rialto Hotel. A half-block of Croy Street will be closed to allow residents to pass through and observe four “massive ice sculptures put together by local amateur ice carving teams,” according to public works staff member James La Pointe.

“Art for art’s sake is something that Hailey has never lacked, but given the current conditions of the last 10 months, it is something that is sorely needed,” La Pointe said, comparing the event to an open-air museum.

The event will require part of Croy Street to be closed for two weeks, from Feb. 1 to Feb. 15.

La Pointe said all adjacent businesses, including Mountain Rose Tattoo Studio, The Barkin’ Basement and Copy & Print, had been consulted with.

“The overriding concern from two of the businesses was obviously parking and the loss of that drive-through traffic. The upside for the businesses is there will be throughout the course of any given day anywhere from 50 to 100 people in an 8-hour period walking by,” he said. “Hopefully [passersby] would choose to patronize those businesses.”

Each ice sculpture will begin as an 8-foot-by-8-foot cube with three to four people working on each block. Passersby can watch the process unfold, and a timelapse video will be posted on the city’s website, La Pointe said. Voting on the “best” sculpture will take place on the city’s Facebook page.

The labor of forming the ice blocks will be performed by Hailey’s Street Shop Department at no cost to the city.

“I can see this in the future becoming a bigger snow festival,” Council President Kaz Thea remarked. “As a standalone event, it's brilliant. I look forward to participating.”

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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