Enough snow had been made, and massive blocks of snow were packed and ready to go for the 38th Annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition, which took place at Sinnissippi Park, 1375 N. Second St., Rockford. This year’s event was presented by Midland States Bank. The competition began Jan. 24, and ran through Jan. 27. Eleven teams from Illinois competed for the right to advance to the 2024 U.S. Nationals Snow Sculpting Competition in Lake Geneva, Wis. One exhibition team (the winner of last year’s Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition, who will compete in this year’s U.S. Nationals in Lake Geneva) will also carve a sculpture. Thirteen area high school teams also participated in the High School Division, and sculpted from Jan. 25 through Jan. 27.

    The Rockford Park District hosted the free, family-friendly winter tradition as it does every year, weather permitting. “This competition is a winter tradition that brings smiles to faces of all ages, provides lots of opportunities for young sculptors to be mentored by experienced sculptors, builds community pride, brings people together, and helps residents and visitors enjoy life during the cold winter months. We continue to hope for cooler temperatures and dry conditions too which provide the best sculpting conditions,” said Kellie Olivencia, Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition Coordinator. Sculpting began Jan. 24 for state teams, and and Jan. 25 for high school teams. Teams normally sculpted each day between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., but with rain in the forecast, sculpting times were be modified. On Jan. 26, some teams may have worked through the night!

About the competition

    Since this event began in 1986, the Park District has had to rely on Mother Nature to provide enough snow for the competition to take place. This competition has been postponed several times in the past, and has been cancelled three times over the last 36 years due to not having enough snow. Since 2016, the District has been able to utilize District-owned snowmaking machines to make snow. Each state block requires 2.5 tons of snow. Making snow provides a more pristine product with a better consistency for sculptors to utilize, and enhances the viewing experience for the community.

Competition rules

    Three sculptors made up a state team, and high school teams had four sculptors. The sculptors could not use any power tools or pre-fabricated molds. Teams used axes, machetes, water buckets, shovels, saws, ice chisels, and homemade scraping tools. Each team was assigned by lottery a block of snow that was 6 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 10 feet high. Finished pieces could not expand beyond 12 feet in diameter, but height was unlimited. High school blocks were 4 feet wide, 4 feet long, and 6 feet high. Sculpting ended on Jan. 27.

Viewing information

    Sinnissippi Park is open to the public for sculpture viewing. Visitors may drive or walk through the park. Limited parking is available at Sinnissippi Park. Additional parking is available at Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens, just west of Sinnissippi Park across N. Second St. in Rockford. Snow sculptures will remain at Sinnissippi Park until they melt away.

    The Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition was hosted by the Rockford Park District, and receives tremendous support from the community through financial and in-kind donations. Major donors/sponsors for 2024 are listed online and in visitors booklet. Please look for 2024 block sponsors on site near each sculpture.


    The results are in for the 38th Annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition. The winning teams were announced at an awards ceremony at Sinnissippi Park. In all, 11 state teams, 12 high school teams, and one exhibition team (the winner of last year’s Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition) participated in this year’s event.

State Awards:

    • Committee’s Choice – Patricia “Pat” Hayes Parks Award: “Apple Pi” by Bi-Polar Bears

    • People’s Choice Award: “Raise the Roof” by Moxie’s Maxim

    • 3rd Place – Rockford Park District Award: “Quis ut Deus” by Gruezi

    • 3rd Place – Rockford Park District Award: “Doyouthinkhesaurus Rex” by Two Blondes and a Burnette

    • 2nd Place – City of Rockford Mayor’s Award: “Hippobottomless” by The Band of Misfit Boys

    • 1st Place – State of Illinois Champions Award: “Karmadillo” by Cave People From Space

High School Awards:

    • Linda K. White Spirit Award: “Foxes in Sockzez” by Roosevelt Community Education Center

    • Fred Gardner Award: “Frozen Freddy” by Christian Life High School

    • Artist’s Choice: “Cold Hearted” by Pecatonica High School

    • People’s Choice: “Snow Clowning Around” by Rockford Lutheran High School

    • 3rd Place: “Soap Opera” by Rockford Christian High School

    • 2nd Place: “Reginald’s Day Out by Byron High School

    • 1st Place: Clowning Around” by Rockford Lutheran High School

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