Ice, food, festivities offered up for Warsaw’s First Friday

Organizers have altered the theme for tomorrow’s First Friday in downtown Warsaw.

Instead of the traditional “Fire and Ice” theme for February’s festivities, organizers have adopted “Winter Food and Fest,” but no worries – ice sculpting will still be part of the fun.

First Friday coordinator Paula Bowman said they decided to downplay the ice theme because the unpredictable temperatures from year to year can cause havoc on ice sculpting when it becomes unseasonably warm.

This year, spectators will see both ice sculpting and wood carving displays on and near the courthouse square.

Spectators will be able to check out eight ice carvings and four wood carvings, Bowman said.

Wood carvings will include a cardinal that will find a home at Lincoln Elementary. Another involves a beer-related carving that will end up at Mad Anthony’s. A penguin is destined for Penguin Point and a garbage truck is being crafted for Stafford’s Solid Waste Service.

At the same time, Friday’s focus will include an attempt to get retailers a little more directly involved in events by selling a promotion to lure visitors into some of the stores with goodies.

The promotion involves selling $1 tickets that will allow them to sample some goodies, not only from restaurants, but also other retailers in the immediate downtown area.

Nearly all of the downtown retailers are expected to participate. Signs will be posted at the entrance of all the participating merchants, Bowman said.

Some of the offers include: B-Mac’s on Buffalo will have a sample of soup and La Troje Mexican restaurant will have chips and salsa. Reinholt’s Town Square Furniture will offer cookies, Bowman said.

Bowman said the samples-for-tickets concept is a good way to improve interaction between spectators and retailers during the festival.

“Everyone is coming up with a fun snack” to offer, Bowman said. “It’s a good opportunity to sample some place you’ve never been.”

Tickets will be available on the courthouse lawn. Most of the items will require a $1 ticket, she said.

As it turns out, Friday’s high temperature won’t be a problem for ice carving displays. After a chance of flurries early in the day, the high temp is expected to be around 18, according to the National Weather Service.

The monthly festival will include several fire pits to help keep visitors warm, Bowman said.

Activities begin at 5 p.m. and continue until 9 p.m.