Weather Forecast


Fire & Ice: Fun for one and all

Kids make colored ice sculptures during last year’s Fire & Ice event near the Starr Elementary school in New Richmond. (Submitted photo)

Since it’s inception five years ago, Messes and Masterpieces’ Fire & Ice Celebration has become a local favorite, with more and more people making it out to the one-day event every year in early February.

For its fifth year, founder/director Christine Melby wanted to expand the reach of the event and bring more activities to the celebration to honor the community that has helped make the annual event the success it is.

“First, it's the people who attend no matter what the weather that have allowed this event to go on for five years,” Melby said. “People understand it's going to be cold outside and they prepare by dressing warm. Vitality's Vitalympics is a huge component, Dave Mehls and the Parks Department are amazing to work with, and the incredible amount of volunteers who are committed to making it a great event. It's about community 100 percent.”

To help celebrate the event’s fifth year, Melby talked to local businesses and community groups to help extend the festivities and activities of Fire & Ice throughout the week leading up to the celebration, which goes from 1-4 p.m. on Feb. 1.

“This year, the library is holding a Books & Brushes, Fire & Ice Gallery Show the week prior to the event where visitors to the library can pick up a book page at the library and add their creative touches,” Melby said. “The masterpieces can be added to the library ‘art gallery.’ Messes and Masterpieces will hold Books and Brushes classes with artist E.B. Williams, who will teach an adult class on watercoloring on pages, and a children's class will be offered on charcoal drawings. Registration is through Community Ed and classes will be held at Messes and Masterpieces.”

Along with the other events, potter Mark Lusardi will hold a Glaze Tile and Votive Holder class at Messes and Masterpieces on Jan. 25, from 2-4 p.m. The items glassed in the class will be brought to Fire & Ice for a Raku firing demonstration and will be available for pickup later in the day.

“This year, we are adding a few new things to the event, including a dramatic performance type Raku firing demonstration by Mark Lusardi,” Melby said. “The middle school ensemble singers will also be performing at the event.”

To help recognize the volunteers, board members and sponsors who have helped put together and run the Fire & Ice events throughout the years, the celebration will also feature a “Cool Event That’s Really Hot,” which will go from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. in a heated tent on the Saturday of the event. There will be special Fire & Ice themed food and activities going on in the tent as well.

“Last year, we had over 60 volunteers help during the event,” Melby said. “It's exciting to see so many different organizations, youth and individuals from our community help make this happen.”

The original idea for a winter festival event came from Melby, who wanted to give the New Richmond community a way to come together during the winter months and celebrate the winter events that everyone enjoys throughout the season.

“I came up with the idea of a winter festival and proposed it to the Messes and Masterpieces board as a way to bring our community together outdoors for winter fun and art,” Melby said. “Really our town is blessed with so many great winter options, but we often don't take the time to get together to enjoy them, including me. So we created a winter event as an opportunity to pull folks together, have a cup of cocoa by the fire, watch the kids have fun, and connect.”

With the cold weather that has hit the region of late, Melby and the rest of the Fire & Ice organizers haven’t had to worry too much about the weather being overly warm or melting any of the snow and ice elements for the event.

“The only thing we worry about is warm weather, and so far this year it hasn't been a concern,” Melby said. “And if it is really cold, we'll have two bonfires and a heated tent with lots of Fire & Ice activities and food to enjoy.”

Messes and Masterpieces is still looking for volunteers to help with setup and takedown as well as the activities during the event, especially with the cross-country skiing and snowshoeing activities. Setup starts at 11 a.m. on Feb. 1, with takedown starting at 4 p.m.

For more information on the event, or to volunteer, contact Messes and Masterpieces at 651-308-2938, or visit the website at

“I'd like to give special recognition to the 2014 Fire & Ice Board: Dave Mehls, Darian Blattner, Tate Wheeler, Mike Darrow and Jeremiah Wendt,” Melby said. “I’d also like to thank the Messes & Masterpieces board: Carol Jones, Michelle Scanlan, Katy Neitzke, Kevin Melby, Pat Hall and Shawn Demulling.”

Other events at Fire & Ice and in the community on Feb. 1, include:

-- Ice painting

-- Mini ice sculpting

-- Bonfires

-- Live DJ by City Administrator Mike Darrow

-- Ice skating

-- Sledding

-- Snowshoeing

-- Cross-country skiing

-- Vitalympics

-- Horse-drawn sled rides

-- K9 police dog demonstration by K9 Braun and Deputy Tyler L’Allier

-- Pancake Breakfast fundraiser for Freedom Park at the Centre from 8-11a.m.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
(751) 243-7767 x244