Snow Days Chicago Festival

January 29, 2010 5:30:43 AM PST
In the annals of Chicago's weather history, snow and January have become an infamous combination; but in 2010, it will be a winning combination. Snow Days Chicago
Michigan Ave & Balbo
Today- Sunday

The second Annual Snow Days Chicago festival arrives a little earlier in 2010, opening on Friday, January 29 at 4p.m. and continuing on Saturday and Sunday, January 30-31, 11a.m.-8p.m. The festival returns to Grant Park at Michigan Avenue and Balbo.

"We are proud that the City of Chicago offers free events and festivals year-round," said Executive Director Megan McDonald. "Snow Days Chicago is a family friendly event that takes our January weather and turns it into something fun."

The main feature of the event is the Snow Sculpting Competition, in collaboration with Snow Visions, Inc. Sculptures will be created by 15 teams of artists, which this year includes teams from China and Canada, states such as North Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois and two Chicago teams. Each team of 3 sculptors will be creating their masterpiece on Chicago's lakefront in competition for prize money; decisions on first and second place will be determined by an expert panel.

Sculptors will begin their process on Wednesday, January 27, needing to complete their task in time for voting on Saturday, January 30. Festival attendees will select the winner of the People's Choice Award. Voting takes place on Saturday, January 30, 11a.m. until 4p.m. and winners will be announced at a ceremony later that day.

Sketches of the sculptures are available on the Snow Days Chicago website.

Additionally, 12 teams representing Chicago Public High Schools will design and complete sculptures for display only. Schools participating with student teams are Chicago High School for the Arts, Douglass High School, Foreman High School, Lane Tech High School (2 teams), Gage Park High School, Walter Payton College Preparatory, Lake View High School, Northside College Preparatory (2 teams), Bronzeville Scholastic Institute, and Gallery 37 (various schools).

Back from last year's event are the Green Valley Dog Drivers providing dog sled demonstrations and weight pulling and snowboarders from the Raging Buffalo Snowboard/Ski Park USASA Team. Plus the "Activities Igloo" will include plenty of fun ways to warm up such as storytelling, arts and crafts and a Radio Disney show on Saturday 1-2p.m.

Snow Days Chicago will create its own snow, temperature permitting, in mid-January. Snow is then packed into 10 ft blocks suitable for sculpting. (Student teams will carve smaller blocks that are 6 ft tall.) Last year's first place winner, "A Bug's Life" is pictured here.

The Mayor's Office of Special Events recommends public transportation to all its events. Parking is available nearby at the Millennium Garage, East Monroe and Grant Park Underground.

For more information on Snow Days Chicago, visit or call 312.744.3315.

Snow Days Chicago is presented by the City of Chicago and sponsored by Chicago's Essex Inn, Whole Foods, WBBM AM Newsradio 780, Jack FM, Cuties Clementines and Crush.