It's Ice-Time in Dowagiac

Mid-Union Sled Haulers, known best for its promotion of sled dog racing as a fun, family activity, will be among the featured attractions of Dowagiac’s Ice Time Festival on Saturday.

DOWAGIAC — The annual Ice-Time Festival takes place this Saturday in downtown Dowagiac with a variety of activities on tap. People can watch carvers create unique ice sculptures, as well as enjoy other events such as wood carving, the annual frozen fish throw, campfires and a chili cookoff.

Festival chairman Kris Soenen said this, the 23rd festival, will offer something for everyone. Ice carving gets underway by 8 a.m. Saturday with members of the Michiana Ice Carving Association carving numerous 400-pound ice blocks into art sculptures. Sculptures will be located on Front, Commercial and Beeson streets.

Back for this year’s festival are the Mid-Union Sled Haulers – MUSH – with their sled dogs. A meet and greet featuring Paw Paw resident Jan Bloom and his four sled dogs will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Beeson Street. People will be able to meet the dogs and get a look at the equipment used.

Those interested in maybe taking home a furry friend can stop by the Bow Wow Bakery & Bath on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a pet adoption event sponsored by the Cass County Animal Control. People will be able to complete the adoption paperwork and take home their new pet that day.

Another popular event is sure to be the Frozen Fish Toss Competition. This year marks the fifth time for the fish toss, with competition getting underway at 12:30 p.m. on Commercial Street. As many as 20 to 30 participants are expected to line up and catch one of the tossed frozen.

A new event this year is the Ice Castle Youth Build on Beeson Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. “Youth will have the opportunity to sculpt, scoop, shape and mold snow into various shapes creating a community sculpture,” Soenen said. “We envision the Ice Castle Youth Build as an open art project.”

The Front Street Crossing/COA will be open as a warming station and has teamed up with the Potawatomi Zoo to host a presentation on animal habits from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Meanwhile, Michigan State University students are returning for their fifth year taking part in the Timber Sport Exhibition from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Commercial Street.

The annual Chili Crawl runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, with nine local restaurants vying for the title of best chili. Free samples will be served at the nine businesses.

Family activities on the schedule include a visit from Stu D. Baker, the South Bend Cubs mascot, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1st Source Bank, Lil’ Chipper Games also at 1st Source Bank from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and winter crafts at Who Knew? Consignment Shop during the day.

The library will host a children’s snow globe workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Miss Dowagiac Juliana Stanger and her court will frost sugar cookies with children at the Dowagiac Area History Museum from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Afternoon events include Caruso’s ice cream eating contest at 2:30 p.m. and the Snowball Daddy/Daughter Dance from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Dowagiac Middle School.

People can find a detailed schedule at or on the chamber’s Facebook page.