By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
RIVERVIEW – From “cool” ice sculptures to hot cocoa and steaming bowls of chili, Rivergate Terrace and Rivergate Health Care Center’s free ice sculptures and family fun day offered a mid-winter diversion.
The first-time event, held Feb. 11, attracted more than 450 people, and may become an annual event, Rivergate Marketing Director Jennifer Crosthwaite said.
“I had the idea because there isn’t anything Downriver in the winter that families can come out and enjoy and have fun with and not have to spend a lot of money,” she said. “Everything we did today was free.
“You get the winter blues, and you get cabin fever, and so I just figured ‘why not?’ I mean, Rivergate likes to give back to the community anyways, so we figured this was another way that we could do that, and we could help the families out that wanted to have something to do.”
She said seeing the strong community turnout, and witnessing the ice sculpture carvings were highlights for her.
Twelve ice sculptures were brought in by artist Tajana Raukar of Ice Dream Sculptures, who carved two more onsite while attendees watched. Area businesses sponsored the ice sculptures to help defray the cost.
“People just think it is something neat,” Crosthwaite said. “We don’t have something like this.”
Angela Davey of Southgate, who brought her goddaughter, appreciated the kid-friendly, no-cost activities.
“It’s all free for the kids,” she said. “She’s been entertained for hours.”
Davey also enjoyed the ice sculpture demonstration and free food, including the chili tasting, complimentary hot dogs, popcorn, chips, hot chocolate and coffee.
She said her goddaughter got her face painted and made valentine cards.
Erin Brozek of Carey Ann’s Clown Caravan said the children were having fun.
“They are getting a lot of balloons and a lot of face paint on them,” Brozek said, “and they are enjoying it a lot.”
Rivergate nurse liaison Sherry Manns said her favorite part of the day was seeing the community enjoy themselves and have so much fun. Admissions employee Nancy Mousseau said it was a good mid-winter community event.
“It’s amazing to see that many people come out and have a good time and enjoy themselves,” Crosthwaite said. “To me, that’s what’s important.”