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Canterbury Ice Festival provides outdoor fun, raises money for charity

Celeste Johnson, 7, and Sophia Luna, 7, pose with an ice dragon sculpted by seven-time world champion ice sculpter Tanja Rauker. Photo by Gabriel Ouzounian (click for larger version)
February 16, 2011 - Utilizing the final months of winter, Olde World Canterbury Village celebrated in the chilly weather with ice sculptures and a number of other activities to raise money for a chosen charity.

While being warmed by a number of barrel fires placed around the event's staging grounds, visitors enjoyed displays from seven-time world champion ice sculptor Tanjana Rauker, the wood carvings of Scott Kuefler, and a kid's booth set up by the charity Power Company Kids Club of Pontiac. With an increasing number of guests filling the "village," there was not a dull moment to be had on Saturday, Feb. 12, from one p.m. to the events end at 10 p.m.

Entrance to the small festival was free, with a portion of the proceeds going to a charity chosen by Event Director for Canterbury Village - Frances Fischer.

Keith Aldridge, Canterbury Village's owner, said even though this was being advertised as the first annual "Ice Festival", the event had been run at the complex before.

"My dad used to do festivals a long time ago," said Aldridge. "But now our team has taken over, we put some ideas together, and I think we did a great job.

"I'd especially like to thank our sponsors for participating."

Linda Suzore, one of the event coordinators, echoed these thoughts, and said this time around, they wanted to reach out to charities that had not been present before.

"We organized this event as a way of offering something to the community and something to offer charities," said Suzore. "We tallied the number of participants between 400 and 500, and while I can't say the exact dollar amount raised for the charity, I can say that we did really well.

"It was a really great turnout, and we're definitely hoping to again make this an annual event."

Event-goers, some coming from as far away as Lansing, had the opportunity to watch as four blocks of ice became a dragon, get their face painted, partake in a number of different treats and eats and, because the main tent was located just outside of Canterbury Village's Clansman Gaelic Pub, relax with a good drink.

A raffle, which also donated a portion of it's profits, saw two of Kuefler's creations go to interested parties. The Owen's family of Waterford walked away with a carved owl, while the second prize, an eagle, went to Kelly Scott.

During the latter part of the event, "Full Tilt", a band from Highland, played classic hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s, including popular Beatles songs. While the band's tent started out sparsely populated, in 30 minutes, the area was packed with dancers until 10 p.m.

The Clansman Gaelic Pub and the other businesses in attendance donated between 10 and 20 percent of their earnings to the Power Company Kids Club. Sponsors for the event included Orion/Oxford Eagles and GS Leasing Inc. of Troy.

The next event at the pub will be a performance from an Elvis impersonator on Friday, Feb. 18 at eight p.m.

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