I always tell my friends looking to see the city that the best time to come is during holiday season. The Lights Festival, Christkindlmarket in Daily Plaza, the storefront window’s at Macy’s, the smells of Garrett’s Popcorn, the list could go on with what makes Chicago during the holidays a must see. One thing I learned in my time spent here is that the excitement of the city doesn’t end when the holidays are over; the city continues to embrace winter no matter how cold it may get. Snow Days Chicago is a three day snow sculpting competition and festival held in Grant Park across from the Essex Inn. This free event began in2009 and since I had never been to the festival, I decided to grab a
few friends and check it out.
On my way to the festival I saw someone with a snowboard and thought it would be best to let him know that there were no mountains in Chicago. After sharing that with him, he informed me that there was a snowboarding rail grind competition at the Snow Days festival. Sure enough, when we arrived, I saw a makeshift snowboarding hill with a few grind rails and a line of anxious snowboarders ready to give the ramp their best shot. I never in a million years would have thought I would witness this sport in downtown Chicago, this city is truly full of surprises.
I had a chance to catch up with one of the snowboarders in the competition. Tyler Miller, 19, was a first time participant and ended up making it to the finals. “I had a lot of fun at the Snow Days Rail Jam competition. It’s not often you find events like this in the city, especially at night under the lights, so it was sick to compete,” Miller said.
Another major even at Snow Days was the snow sculpting competition. There more than 20 entries and the sculptures were extravagant, the artists even took some time to talk to the audience and explain their art. My favorites were Spongebob Squarepants pineapple house and the Chicago souvenir replica, very creative ideas and very well done.
For me, the highlight of Snow Days was seeing the ice sculptures lined up on Michigan Avenue. Chicago always has something new to see and experience. The way the ice glistened against the city lights brought a certain magic to the festival, and it can only be found in the Windy City.
– Jaclyn Howard