Site last updated: Saturday, March 25, 2023

Log In

Reset Password
Butler County's great daily newspaper

Forecast: Carved in Ice Festival to hit Feb. 10-11

Bryce Welter, of Chicora takes a run on the ice slide at 2022's Carved in Ice festival in Diamond Park with Hazel Laporte, left, and his sister Riley Welter looking on. Seb Foltz/Butler Eagle
Annual event to chill out in downtown Butler

The art pieces Jared McAlister and his colleagues will take hours making this weekend in Butler will melt away only a few days after creation.

The artists are used to it, however, because their medium comes in the form of 265-pound blocks of ice. Despite their mass, the blocks can be manipulated into shapes like ambulances, rubber ducks, eagles and slides by a good carver.

Additionally, the carved ice lasts longer than many people would expect.

“With the ice, it's 10 inches thick, so it's very thick compared to your ice cube tray,” said McAlister, an ice carver with DiMartino Ice Company in Jeannette,. “It holds its core temp very well, and it's a substantial amount — you're talking about 265 pounds — a considerable mass that just keeps itself cold.”

The Butler Carved in Ice event will return to Diamond Park for the seventh year this Friday, Feb. 10, which will feature live ice carvings along with food vendors and contests all organized by the Butler AM Rotary Club.

Dena Martinez, the Rotarian who is chairwoman for Carved in Ice, said the two-day event attracts hundreds of people to Butler to not only see ice carvings, but take part in other winter activities like a chili cook-off and a hot dog eating contest.

“Every year we change it a little,” Martinez said. “It's a two-day event, so we have an ice carving and Saturday, we keep all the ice on display.”

Staff members of DiMartino Ice Company will set up the ice blocks in Diamond Park Friday, and the main event begins at 5 p.m. Soon after the event opens, carvers will begin molding the blocks using chainsaws and chisels.

According to McAlister, Butler’s Carved in Ice is on the larger side of events DiMartino Ice Company does around the region, and the team brings to it about 16 tons of ice each year.

Three ice carvers and three apprentices from DiMartino will work Friday night, McAlister said. Many ice carvers learn the art in culinary school, and the ice company also trains people to carve while on the job.

“It's an art form that some people can catch onto very quickly and for some people it takes years,” McAlister said. “It's very difficult to see in the third dimension for some.”

Martinez said she is still surprised each year at what the ice carvers are able to pull off with just big walls of ice bricks. Almost even more surprising is how long the ice art pieces remain standing in Diamond Park.

“They allow us to keep the ice standing longer,” Martinez said. “Every day I was coming to work and seeing that the ice was still good.”

In addition to the ice and the food vendors that will be present at the event over the weekend, there will be children's activities including a scavenger hunt and face painting, at the Holly Pointe building, which Martinez said is a new addition to the event.

Also on Saturday, there will also be a chili cook-off where people can pay $5 to sample chilies prepared by entrants, and a hot dog eating contest at noon at the Sons and Daughters of Italy, 338 S. Main St.

Butler Carved in Ice is ultimately a fundraiser for the Rotary Club, one Martinez said has been successful throughout its seven-year history. She said the community turnout and support for Carved in Ice will likely make it an event that continues well into the future.

“The only thing that makes us able to have the event is support from local businesses,” Martinez said. “It is one thing we do a year that allows us to keep doing things in the community.”

Carved in Ice will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11. For more information, visit

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

* indicates required