Of course, the main event was the ice sculpting competition by U of M’s Michigan Ice Carving Team. Over the course of three hours, these unconventional artists wielded their formidable assortment of tools to turn 300lb blocks of ice into stunning works of art – despite hitting a snag or two with the electricity supply! As we’ve said in the past, “the show must go on” is a fitting motto for Robin Hills Farm events, and this was as true as ever on this amazing day of broken precedents. It was perhaps our first true test of what we can and will become as an eco-tourist destination, come opening day this summer.

As usual, our unstoppable behind-the-scenes staff knocked it out of the park. Our parking attendant in particular did the work of four, all with a smile on his face, and the rest of the Robin Hills crew present that day went above and beyond to make the day a success: our golf cart shuttle chauffeurs kept people moving to and from the parking lot, our crack electricians kept the power flowing, our baristas and cashier staff kept everyone stocked with coffee and hot chocolate, and our event supervisors managed to be in several places at once to troubleshoot. Bolstered by the enthusiasm and eagerness of the crowd, we made a small but mighty skeleton crew.

When all was said and done, there were four brilliant ice sculptures, 1st place (and our prestigious trophy!) going to Ben Loomis’s terrific rendition of a skier doing a handstand, as well as a bear by Patricia Huang, a cresting shark by Angela Sze, and a squid by Samantha Sonderman! Brian Williams of Cold Tone Harvest served as the Celebrity Judge, and all the contestants went home with goodie bags filled with RHF swag and gifts from sponsors. The day wound down, our guests trickled out, and as our exhausted but triumphant staff packed it out for the day we couldn’t help but suspect that this record-setting day had been some sort of game-changer for us.

A massive thank you to the vendors, visitors, staff, and mother Nature for providing the perfect winter afternoon for an Ice Festival. And, of course, a big and deeply grateful shout-out to the fourteen Chelsea businesses whose sponsorship made this free event possible: Pandya Family Dentistry, Mike’s Deli, Thompson’s Pizza, Chelsea Village Flowers, Cherry Optometry, Chelsea Lumber Supply, Rick Eder Agency, Chelsea Alehouse, Devil’s Haircut, Chelsea Lanes, Golling Chrysler, Chelsea Chevy Buick, Healthy Smiles, and Zou Zou’s Cafe!

Stay tuned for Ice Fest 2018!!