Snowfest brings business to Frankenmuth

Snowfest 2018
By Joe Thornton, reporter.

FRANKENMUTH – The streets and sidewalks of Frankenmuth were flooded with pedestrians for the 27th annual Zehnder’s Snowfest, which spanned over five days from Jan. 24 to 29. This free, perennial festival brings flocks of people to the area to celebrate winter and indulges attendees with grand sculptures using ice and snow.

As visitors and Frankenmuth natives alike strolled the streets, remarks of wonder could be heard in passing.

“I can’t believe they can make this with just a block of snow,” exclaimed a passerby, walking through the high-school snow sculpting competition. The event features three different categories of competition separated into high school, state of Michigan and international. All three of these exhibits featuring snow sculptures are open to the public for viewing for free.

The International World Class Snow Sculpting Competition featured teams spanning from all over the world, including teams from Argentina, Canada and various states within the U.S.

Unfortunately, many of the snow sculptures have started to melt and lost some of their finer details due to the above-freezing temperatures, but that didn’t stop people from gathering to celebrate wintertime and its wonders.

In addition to the grand snow sculptures, many teams worked together to create ice sculptures. These teams worked with chainsaws and precision tools tirelessly throughout the day as spectators were able to observe the process of creating such a sculpture.

With multiple vendors with lines out the door, it is undeniable that Zehnder’s Snowfest is a stimulant for Frankenmuth’s economy. Trica Sanbeck, the daughter of local shop Bead Haven’s owner, professes the event is great for their store.

“Although it’s hectic at times, this event is great for businesses. There are tons of people walking into shops that regularly never would, and with more people coming in, more people are making purchases. I just had a customer walk in who isn’t from here and he bought two necklaces; he wouldn’t have been here if not for Snowfest,” remarks Sanbeck.

Sanbeck adds that the higher temperatures aren’t great for sculptors, but stand to benefit the businesses.

“Even with the warmer temperatures, people don’t seem to mind too much that sculptures are melting. This is one of the largest turnouts I can remember within recent years, and it has been a great result for our business,” states Sanbeck.

After a long day of hustle and bustle everyone in Frankenmuth seemed to pause, enraptured by the fireworks that concluded the event behind the famous Zehnder’s restaurant. Afterward everyone crowded back into their cars and departed, waiting patiently again for Snowfest’s arrival next year.

Video by Kevin Lazzaro

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