By Doug Schroder


ROCKFORD – Last week from Wednesday, Jan. 27, through Saturday, Jan. 30, teams came together at Sinnissippi Park in Rockford to compete in the 30th Annual Illinois State Snow Sculpting competition. Altogether 11 State teams, 15 high school teams and one exhibition team (the winners of last year’s Illinois Snow Sculpting competition) converged on the park to show off their snow sculpting skills. There is no charge for high school teams to compete.

While the competition started Wednesday for the adult teams, it wasn’t until Thursday, Jan. 28, that the high school competition started with a 10 a.m. meeting of all the teams, with sculpting then beginning at 1 p.m. Sculpting could then continue until 11:30 p.m. that night. The next morning teams could start at 7 a.m. and again work until late in the night.

Work could then continue on Saturday, Jan. 30 until judging took place. Winners were then announced at 1 p.m.

The team from Byron High School took home the People’s Choice Award for their sculpture titled “The Scorcerer”. Team members included Caleb Denton, Kjia Welty, Erin Hayes, Savanna Harper and Camryn Harper. Camryn was added as a last second substitute when one other team members was unable to work. Contest rules stated only four team members could work on the sculpture at any one time. Kathy Driscoll was the Team Advisor.

For Erin Hays it was her third year in the competition, while it was the second time for Kjia Welty.

Teams from Pecatonica and Winnebago also participated in the event.

The Winnebago Snow Sculpting team consisting of Seniors Megan Bogdonas, Harrison Reiter, Isabella Scott and Abigail Edwards, were all first timers in the event. For first-timers they did well by taking home two ribbons. Their sculpture, titled “Keeper of Knowledge”, featured two owls perched on a log, took 2nd place over all in the high school division. The team also garnered the Artist’s Choice award in the competition.

The Pecatonica Snow Sculpting team consisted of Kelsey Swanson, Lexi Frederick, Charity Voskuil and Bailey Penwell. It was the second year of participating for each of the girls. Team Advisor is Jillian Torre. The team brought home the Committee’s Choice award for their sculpture entitled “Seal of Approval”, which was a seal balancing a ball on its nose.

Each team had its own various array of tools to work with. I saw brooms, saws, machetes, garden utensils, water buckets, and other homemade utensils used for each team to create their sculpture.

Sinnissippi Park is open to the public for sculpture viewing while weather permits. Viewing hours are daily from sunrise until 11:00 p.m. There is no admission fee, but donations are welcome. Visitors may drive or walk through the park; visitors are encouraged to take the time to walk through, to maximize their experience, and allow them to view the sculptures from all sides. Limited parking is available at Sinnissippi Park.  Additional parking is available at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens just west of Sinnissippi Park across N. Second St.

The Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition is hosted by the Rockford Park District, and receives tremendous support from the community through financial and in-kind donations.

IL 2016 Snow Sculpting 1

Byron High School team members (L-R) Erin Hays, Kjia Welty, Savanna Harper and Caleb Denton pose with their People’s Choice Award in front of their sculpture titled “The Scorcerer”. Doug Schroder photo

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