Armed with nothing but chainsaws, gloves and their imaginations, "Arctic lumberjack" Reverend Butter and DLG Ice Factory have created ice sculptures that have won competitions around the world and garnered commissions for pro sports events (Super Bowl LI for the NFL and Houston Astros' World Series win).
They're returning to Discovery Green in Frostival, and the chips will be flying as they slice, dice and sacrifice the ice at this kick-off event that opens a season of skating on the largest outdoor ice skating surface in the Southwest.
In the past DLG Ice Factory has created oversized games of cornhole and ping pong tables out of enormous blocks of ice for Discovery Green; the theatricality of these interactive ice masterpieces is enhanced with lighting effects. Ren Mitchell, the park's marketing and brand partnerships manager, says this year's design will be kept under wraps until the night of Frostival. "He's been given free creative license," says Mitchell of the chainsaw-wielding Butter. "They've gotten to the point now where they are bringing one ton blocks of ice."
DJ Caps will be spinning tunes and they're turning Frostival into a party with photo opps and hand-carved steins made of ice for anybody who makes a contribution to the Discovery Green Conservancy that evening. (And yes, it comes with a glove.) Fill the mug with Saint Arnold Brewing Company's finest, either craft beer or root beer.
It's strange to talk about ice sculptures and ice skating in Houston, and it seems like an expensive undertaking, but it's actually an eco-friendly endeavor. Using the boat basin section of the park, they freeze water from Kinder Lake using equipment that uses renewable energy from Green Mountain Energy. So, not only is it sustainable, but it's also environmentally sound.
The ICE powered by Green Mountain Energy® has all sorts of themed nights during its run, including Cheap Skate Nights on select Mondays, ice games during intermission on Tuesdays (watch out for the Zamboni), date nights on Wednesdays, light shows on Fridays and the opportunity to watch pro figure skaters on select Sundays.
"A big draw on Saturdays is we have Santa who comes and skates with families during the day," says Mitchell, adding that other characters like Spider-Man, Queen Elsa and Wonder Woman will skate after Christmas. She says they also have a workshop where kids can write a postcard to Santa and deposit it in a large, iconic red mailbox.
Frostival is scheduled for 6-10 p.m. November 16, Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney, 713-400-7336, discoverygreen.com, free (skating fees apply).
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The ICE powered by Green Mountain Energy® event schedule:
The ICE powered by Green Mountain Energy®
The ICE is the largest outdoor ice skating surface in the Southwest. Discovery Green uses water from Kinder Lake to freeze the ice, and all equipment runs on Green Mountain Energy’s renewable energy, ensuring The ICE is environmentally friendly and sustainable.
November 16 through January 27; 5-10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 5-11 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays and November 19-23, December 24-28 and January 1-4; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. December 24 and 31; 1-7 p.m. December 25 and January 1; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. January 21. Private events will affect ice rink hours on December 16, January 13 and January 20.
Skate with Santa and More!
Children of all ages are invited to skate with Santa Claus (through December 22) and other favorite characters, including Spider-Man, Queen Elsa, Wonder Woman and more.
November 17 through January 26, 5-6 p.m. (Saturdays).
Enjoy a picture-perfect winter scene for children to write a postcard to Santa, and deposit it onsite in a large, iconic red mailbox.
November 17 through December 23, during ice rink hours.
Skating with the Stars
On Sundays this winter, Houston’s top figure skaters perform demonstrations on The ICE.
November 18 through January 27, 6:30-6:45 p.m. (Sundays). No program December 2, 16 and January 13.
Skating games are twice as nice when played on The ICE. Sign up to play a variety of games in the middle of the rink during a 15-minute intermission. Games vary but include hockey, broomball and more.
November 19 through January 22, 7-9 p.m. (Tuesdays).
DJ Mohawk Steve, a light show and other festive elements make for fun Friday nights.
November 23 through January 25, 7-9 p.m. (Fridays).
Cheap Skate Nights
On select Mondays this winter, glide around The ICE at Discovery Green for just $8 per person or $15 for a pair (includes tax and skate rental).
November 26 through December 17 and January 7–14, 5-10 p.m. (Mondays).
Break The ICE Date Nights
Bring your date for a romantic night under the downtown Houston skyline. This special date night features live music by Jawad on November 29, December 12 and January 16.
November 28 through January 16, 7-9 p.m. (Wednesdays).
Rainbow on ICE
The annual LGBTQ celebration at Discovery Green returns to The ICE with music by DJ Joe Ross. Admission is free; skating fees apply.
January 11, 7-10 p.m.