A regular event here in Rochester in February is the Downtown Alliance’s SocialICE event. The Peace Plaza is decorated with several ice bars sponsored by several downtown restaurants each with its own theme.

The bars are carved to match the theme, and there are other carvings here and there. And, of course, each is lit by – now days – colored LED lights. The bars offer various themed drinks – happily many are warm drinks.

Tons of folks turn out despite the cold weather because, well, this is Minnesota! Mother nature hasn’t exactly cooperated the last two years, though. Last year, by the time I made it to see the sculptures, serious melting was happening. The event runs Thursday through Saturday, and Thursday night, when I was there, temps were in the mid-30s. I could see melting, but it certainly wasn’t bad. But Friday and Saturday highs reached the 50s. I’m not sure how the ice fared, but the news reported they were trying to use dry ice and foam to help – I assume during the daytime.

While I take photos of the ice, I find myself drawn to the people, and I seem to take more photos of the bar staff and the attendees.

The fellow above was the event DJ well above the crowd behind a huge wall of ice.

There were at least a few media folks there. I’m not sure who this reporter and camera person represented, but the local KTTC-TV had a reporter on location for the six o’clock news.

There was a Prince-themed bar, complete with Prince’s symbol carved in the base, but many were posing with the life-size cardboard Prince cut-outs.

I had a few people see me with my camera (used the big-boy Canon this night) and give me big pose.

This was the only ice casualty I noticed. Looks like it was standing up and just lost its base support to the warmth. I have no idea what it was supposed to be.

Several places along the plaza, these warmers were running. It’s amazing how cold the mid-thirties can be when you’re just standing around. And, of course, we don’t dress for really cold weather when it’s that warm! On 1st Ave which was closed at the Peace Plaza, there were a handful of portable fireplaces with wood fires. Those were really nice.

I saw the KTTC photographer hauling her big video camera and equally hefty tripod here and there. Then around 6PM, Alanna Martella, one of their reports appeared for, what I’m assuming, was a live report during the news.

I happened to be downtown anyway Thursday evening, so I took the opportunity to throw the camera¬† in the car and walk over to the plaza. Glad I did since the carvings looked pretty good and there was a nice crowd filling in the space. It’s great that these events have such a good turnout. I think it keeps our town active.

It also gives me something different to shoot. I like looking around and thinking about what I can capture that’s different, at least different from what I’ve shot before. Perhaps that’s the draw of the people. The human face – expression – can be counted on for bringing me something new.

Meanwhile, I won’t begrudge the 50 degree temperatures in February in Minnesota. Oh, no.