By RACHEL NASH
UMW’s second annual ice-carving contest’s most excited participants were not even students at the college.
Wyatt Putt, Executive Chef at Franklin & Marshall College, and his assistant, Andrew Kuster, drove from Lancaster, Pennsylvania at 3 a.m. to transport their ice block to the competition hosted by Dining Services last Friday, Feb. 8.
The pair was eager to start work early on the wheels and barrel of their Civil War ice cannon.
When they arrived, they found 25 blocks of ice, each weighing an impressive 300 pounds, standing in a circle on the lawn of DuPont Hall. With the early afternoon sunlight reflecting off of the dripping squares, the pair swore the scene looked like a frozen Stonehenge.
The first student contestants didn’t arrive until several hours after Putt and Kuster.
Fiona Cobb and Whitney Rife approached their ice block armed with a big fork-like tool and a chisel, but were hesitant to reveal their carving plans.
“We’re kind of keeping our idea on the down low,” Rife said. “We like the element of surprise.”
Seniors Lily Ancalle and Alex Krafchek were also secretive about their plans, but before they could begin carving, their first order of business was to push their gargantuan block over on its side.
The girls were pleasantly surprised by their own strength after hearing how heavy the pre-carved pieces weighed.
Unlike her more secretive competitors, Sophomore Aspen Hayden was much more open about her vision.
“Originally it was going to be a Venus of Willendorf, but I feel it’s more masculine than that now. It’s just going to be a head and torso shape,” Hayden said. “When I finally got to my ice, it just felt less feminine somehow. It’s kind of like when you’re approaching a piece of clay or a drawing you’re going do and you think you’re going to do one thing, but it just evolves.”
Freshman Amanda Boccuti didn’t have a definitive plan for her ice block, but she wasn’t worried about inspiration striking.
“We’re just letting the creative spirit move us,” Boccuti said.
While some students had no problems with using the low tech chisel and spiky ice fork, others wanted to be able to use the power tools that were prevalent in the contest the year before.
Jessica Newman, a senior, preferred using the power tools.
“I can’t believe they’re not letting us use them this year. It’s not like we cut off our hands last time,” Newman said. “I guess it’s just a safety issue, but most of us are art students so we’ve already used them.”
Rose Benedict, Marketing Specialist for Dining Services, shed some light on why the second annual demonstration was electricity free for the students.
“The University said no. It’s too much of a safety hazard, insurance problems, all kinds of things,” Benedict said. “Last year, nobody thought about it. It was the first time we’d done it and after we’d done it they told us ‘you cannot do that.’”
General Manager of Dining Services John Dering appeared to be having no problem not using power tools as he chiseled the centennial UMW design.
“I haven’t done an ice-carving in years, but doing it now is just like riding a bike,” Dering said.
Dering is excited that the contest did not remain just a one-time event.
“We were looking for a fun thing we could do outside in the winter year after year so it could get bigger and bigger. Last year we had ten blocks of ice, now we have more,” Dering said. “What we’re really trying to do is get the community involved, have them drive by and see what we’re doing and get interested.”