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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

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Winterfest connects community members, tourists in demonstrations, cook-offs

After two hours of work, Josh Smith was covered in snow and had turned two 300-pound blocks of ice into two sculptures of Cupid.

Smith gave an ice sculpting demonstration at Winterfest on Saturday.

“It’s just straight fun,” Smith said of his job.

He has been sculpting ice for a year and a half. Smith started working at Ice Creations by bagging and moving ice.

Ice Creations is based in Napoleon and makes ice sculptures for various occasions, including all of the sculptures at Winterfest.

“Once you start working there … [sculpting] naturally comes along once you start picking up tools and trying different stuff and having fun,” Smith said.

The sidewalks downtown were lined with ice sculptures in front of businesses that sponsored Winterfest.

Winterfest is mostly attended by people from northwest Ohio, said Wendy Stram, a Winterfest planning committee co-chair.

However, some people traveled in from well beyond that region.

“I flew in to cook,” said Kathy Mitterway, a New York City resident who entered the chili and soup cook-off with her friend Drew Hanna.

This was her second year traveling to Bowling Green for the cook-off. This past year, she and Hanna placed third in the individual category.

“Each year, Kathy almost didn’t make it [to Bowling Green],” Hanna said.

Mitterway did not allow the snow to hold her up, and she walked, rode and flew her way to Bowling Green starting at 5 a.m. Friday.

On Saturday, she got up at 4:30 a.m. to begin cooking the chili.

Eight hours later, the Veteran’s Building at City Park was bustling with people sampling chili.

“We usually have over 200 people that come,” said Deborah Wooldridge, an organizer of the cook-off.

Wooldridge, president of the Ohio Board of the American Association of University Women, worked with representatives of Zonta Club of Bowling Green and the Bowling Green Women’s Club to organize the cook-off. The groups will split the proceeds to fund scholarships for women.

Others spent the afternoon sampling sandwiches during the Sandwich Stroll, a fundraiser for the Bowling Green Arts Council.

“Today’s been good. I have a full house,” said Lori Hanway, owner and manager of A Taste of Amish Deli.

At times, there were no available seats in her deli.

“I like to do stuff with the community all the time,” Hanway said.

She said she appreciates the support she has received from the downtown area.

Hanway gave back during Winterfest by donating sandwiches for the Red Cross Fire & Ice fundraiser at Cla-Zel.

“I like to give back to the community any way I can,” Hanway said.

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