FORT WAYNE – The exact count, who knows? But of all the people who reside, shopped, dined or just milled about downtown on Saturday, there were probably five who didn’t want to see the late morning sun make a rare appearance.
One of them was Howard Busfield.
We’ll be OK if we can get some cloud cover, Busfield said. The sun will do more damage than warm temperatures.
The other four were the other ice sculptors whose workmanship decorated downtown venues – all part of the Winterval event sponsored by the Downtown Improvement District and Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department.
A small group of bundled-up onlookers gathered in front of Grand Wayne Center, and the stoplight at Harrison Street and Jefferson Boulevard enabled motorists to take a quick peek before moving on.
Dressed in a black snow suit, thick gloves and a camouflage baseball cap, Busfield quickly went to work on the stacked blocks of clear ice. With an electric drill, he outlined the shape of the apple he would be carving – the logo of the Indiana Music Education Association – for its annual conference held at the Grand Wayne Center.
Using a chain saw with a 16-inch blade, Busfield cut along the outline, took a step back, then asked, Does it look like an apple?
This is just a hobby, said Busfield, 51, a butcher with the University of Notre Dame. I’ve been doing this for about eight years now.
He works about every weekend, he said, mostly around northern Indiana. He’ll get to Chicago now and then, where timed competitions are held. But Busfield stays away from those because he’d rather take his time with a project. The apple will take him about two hours before he’ll join the others to carve in front of the Allen County Public Library.
Around the corner on Calhoun Street, in front of the Hilton Hotel entrance, Stan Horne of Churubusco was working on his own carving – a saxophone complete with musical notes.
Been doing this for about 20 years. I learned this as part of my culinary training, said Horne, a chef with Parkview Hospital.
The saxophone perched on a solid block of ice, and Horne assured the couple who watched him that it wasn’t going anywhere.
If anybody tried to kick it over, they’ll break their foot, Horne said. It’s frozen to the sidewalk.
A woman who was watching said, So am I.