Ice sculptures and chili dishes impress at NJ festival

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Saturday, January 28, 2023
Ice sculptures and chili dishes impress at NJ festival
In case you missed it, check out the incredible ice sculptures and chef-kissed chili dishes from today's event!

MOUNT HOLLY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- "30 years ago, a couple of friends and I were at dinner and we dreamt up an idea that, if you put an ice carver downtown, a bunch of people will come and watch it," said Audrey Winzinger.

Winzinger and her friends came packed a variety of interests, ranging from ice-carving to chili-cooking. They eventually boiled down into what became known as the Fire and Ice Festival in Mount Holly.

"It has quite a following, that's for sure," said Winzinger as hundreds upon hundreds poured onto High Street.

The picture-perfect weather helped make the event a success after last year's was sidelined by a snowstorm. Chefs were busy preparing samples of their secret chili recipes while ice carvers were performing live demonstrations for onlookers.

Robert and Monica Lo Furno of "Just Add Ice" put on a show as they uncovered the images of Spider Man, an Eagle, and the LOVE statue hidden within each 200-pound block.

"Truthfully, it's really hard to carve by yourself," said Robert. "So, I can have my partner here, my wife, my best friend, to make sure that I'm successful because you also need another set of eyes sometimes, too, when you're carving."

In years past, ice carving used to be competitive at the festival. But that idea was scrapped in favor of letting each artist create for fun and engage with the audience.

The chili competition, on the other hand, can really heat things up. Chefs have a chance to impress judges and the general public with their dishes.

"It's very communal," said Christine Wendland, the Executive Chef and owner of HoopHouse in Bordentown. "There's a lot of great chefs out here, a lot of tasty food to be served. So we're really excited for all of that."

This year's festival has concluded, but plans to return on the last Saturday in January each year moving forward. For anyone interested in learning more, visit their website.

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