LOUDONVILLE — Stephen and Meghan Self stood with their five children in Central Park, watching in awe as a man with a chainsaw created a work of art.
The annual Mohican Winterfest centers around ice sculptures. Downtown businesses sponsored about 35 of them to line the sidewalks Saturday morning. Meanwhile, artists from Elegant Ice Creations crafted more during a live demonstration in the park.
The Self family, of Ashland, attended the festival for the first time this year. Red-nosed and bundled-up, the children watched in fascination as carver Shawn Eckert turned a 300-pound block of ice into a butterfly.
“They really like sculptures where you can stick your face in and get a picture,” their mother, Meghan said. “Those are their favorites.”
The festival also featured a model train expo, tours of Workman Cabin and the Wolf Creek/Pine Run Grist Mill and three screenings of “Spider-Man No Way Home” at Loudonville’s Ohio Theater.
For families like the Selfs, it was a nice chance to beat the cabin fever that can set in during the colder months.
“I like that it’s something to do in the wintertime as opposed to being shut in the house all winter,” Stephen said. “It’s nice to see all the different shops because you drive them all the time but if you’re just passing through, you’re not really going in.”
Michelle Buckley, owner of a furniture store called The Radiant Peacock, said the traffic in her downtown shop was “10-fold” of what she sees on an average Saturday.
Tourism to Mohican State Park boosts business in Loudonville during the summer and fall. Buckley said she appreciates the Loudonville Mohican Chamber of Commerce sponsoring events like Winterfest to attract downtown visitors.
“Valerie (Spreng) with the Chamber, she does an amazing job,” Buckley said. “I’m amazed at what she does in the ‘offseason,’ so to speak, to bring in the people.”
Bill and Joanne Mackeigan of Lodi have been attending the festival for at least 15 years — they can’t recall the exact number.
“We love the sculptures, we love how friendly everybody is,” Joanne said.
The festival will continue through Sunday afternoon.
The Life section is supported by Brethren Care Village in Ashland.