Valent-ICE, the annual festival organized around Valentine’s Day to celebrate love and winter in Downtown Grand Rapids, features 50+ sculptures on display totaling more than 15 tons – or 30,000 pounds – of ice.

The design of the largest sculpture, selected by community vote in January, will be revealed on Saturday, February 13 during a live sculpting event at Rosa Parks Circle. The stars of Food Network’s “Ice Brigade” show – Randy Finch and Derek Maxfield – will carve the public sculpture from 6,000 pounds of ice. Voters chose from a moose, mermaid, teepee, octopus, whale or an ice castle. Once completed, the piece will stand 12 feet tall and is believed to be the tallest ice sculpture in any Michigan festival this year.

Valent-ICE is part of Downtown’s campaign to embrace the cold, take more advantage of the city’s northern climate, and make Grand Rapids a better winter city, which makes Grand Rapids a better year-around city. The festival is organized by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. in partnership with the Ice Guru, the Downtown Market and the City of Grand Rapids.

Additional sculpture highlights include:

These and dozens of other sculptures are organized in a walking tour around Downtown. The public is encouraged to vote-by-text for their favorite sculptures and be entered to win a Downtown prize package. The text-to-vote number is (616) 432-2790. Voting codes will be listed at individual sculptures. The business sponsoring the most popular sculpture will win a marketing package valued at $1,700.

Click here for a map of sculptures and schedule of events for Valent-ICE 2016. (PDF)

The festival also includes numerous free- and low-cost events for families and adults. Highlighted activities include:

Thursday, February 11

  • 1-4 PM: Live carving of the Valent-ICE Lounge at the Downtown Market.
  • 4-7 PM: Live carving of the Grand Budapest Hotel at MadCap Coffee Company.

Friday, February 12

Saturday, February 13

Sunday, February 14