Roughly 30 ice sculptures will go on display Saturday in downtown Wheaton as the city celebrates its Ice (Cubed) Fest. Daily Herald file photo

By Ann Piccininni
Daily Herald correspondent

By Saturday morning, a sidewalk palm tree will greet visitors to WoofBeach Shore in downtown Wheaton.

Stationed outside the dog training and grooming shop on West Liberty Drive, this symbol of tropical tranquillity won’t sway in the breeze, though.

One of nearly three dozen sculptures decorating the downtown business district in this year’s Ice (Cubed) Fest, it will be fashioned from solid ice.

“We have about 30 businesses displaying three-foot-high ice sculptures starting on Feb. 9,” said Paula Barrington, executive director of the Downtown Wheaton Association, the business organization presenting the event. The sculptures will remain on display as long as weather conditions permit.

“Some of them have sculptures representative of their businesses. Some of the businesses will have winter themes, like someone sledding,” she said.

Visitors will find an icy version of the Eiffel Tower near Suzette’s Creperie, a polar bear with beer glass in paw outside Dry City Brew Works and a four-leaf clover in the vicinity of Muldoon’s Irish American Eatery.

Near Andrew’s Garden on W. Wesley Street, visitors will see an ice carving of a Waterford vase accented with a colorful bouquet of fresh flower blooms.

“It’s a nice touch. It really speaks to what he does with his business,” she said.

A close look at what goes into transforming a block of ice into an intricately detailed sculpture is expected to draw crowds to the Martin Memorial Plaza on Front Street, Car near Main Street. There, an ice carver from Chicago Ice Works will create a new sculpture between noon and 3 p.m. Saturday.

“He uses chisels and a blow torch,” Barrington said.

Saturday also marks the beginning of a downtown shopping district scavenger hunt that continues through Feb. 24. Shoppers will find scavenger hunt cards at participating shops and can get them stamped as they visit each business, Barrington said.

At the end of the hunt, participants may drop their stamped game cards in a drop box at the Wheaton Public Library that will be used for a random drawing for gift certificates.

Barrington said visitors to Ice Cubed Fest also may want to check out the Wheaton Park District’s Ice a Palooza event, going on from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Central Athletic Complex Ice Rinks at 500 S. Naperville Road, where skating, hockey, kids’ games and ice skating performances will be available.

Barrington said Wheaton’s Ice Cubed Event is a favorite winter event for local shoppers.