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Red Deerians invited to take a seat on the Ross Street Patio ice throne

The DBA hopes to draw more families downtown
Chelsea Ward, events co-ordinator for the Red Deer Downtown Business Association, is the first to take a seat on an ice throne on the Ross Street Patio. Public photo ops are the point of the installation. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff.)

All Red Deerians can be royalty — for the moment it takes to snap a photo.

A nearly six-foot ice throne carving was installed on the Ross Street patio on Thursday.

The majestic seat is flanked by two giant ice snowflakes with holes cut in the centre so that kids or adults can stick their faces in for photo opportunities.

This year’s ice sculpture was created by Frozen Memories of Calgary for the Downtown Business Association. It’s an interactive installment, said Chelsea Ward, events co-ordinator for the DBA.

This means Red Deer-area residents are welcome to take a seat, as long as they don’t mind a chilly derriere.

“It is cold, ” admitted Ward, who took a test run on the throne before a patio party was started from 4 to 7 p.m. with games, activities and hot chocolate.

Sculptor Lee Ross, of Frozen Memories, said this year’s sculpture weighs 5,000 lbs and was created over five days in an indoor freezer kept at a temperature of -10 C. The pieces were later brought to Red Deer by truck.

The veteran ice carver, who’s competed around the world for 25 years, knows not to chance outdoor ice carving in Alberta because of the potential for drastic temperature swings.

UV rays from the sun will now start to “marbleize” ice at -3 C or warmer, said Ross, who remembers years ago, when the crackling and destabilizing occurred at about 5 C. But ozone in the atmosphere is much thinner now, he added, so melting now starts at colder temperatures.

While Thursday’s high in Red Deer was about 4 C, thermometers are about to plunge to -15 to -20 C this weekend, so conditions are “perfect” for the sculpture to have some longevity, said Ross.

Ward hopes people will come and take a seat. After snapping a photo on the throne, she hopes they will stay downtown to explore local businesses and restaurants, noted Tribe will be offering a 10 per cent discount to any customer who shows off an ice-throne pic.

Brandon Bouchard, manager of Tribe and chair of the DBA board, loves this year’s “amazing” ice attraction and he encourages everyone to come check it out and stay for a while.

The DBA will be holding more special events in 2023, and Bouchard said he’s “extremely excited” about what’s being envisioned for the spring and summer. This potentially includes having a long table dinner on the Ross Street Patio instead of the pedestrian bridge (which will be under construction). The DBA is looking for sponsors, Bouchard added.

“Whatever the DBA does with events, people are invited to partake and to explore and discover what there is in the downtown every day.”

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Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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