The land of love fires up a cool festival

Fires and Ice Festival

Heidi and Nate Webb work hard six months in advance to bring the festival together for the Valentine’s Day season, Feb. 12. Photo by Karson Hallaway • cgonza88@msudenver.edu

The sweetheart city of Loveland, brings the surrounding businesses and residents the Fire and Ice Festival every Valentine’s Day season, which gives the downtown center of Loveland an opportunity to share locally owned beer, food and inviting music from its own born and raised.

Festival curators, Heidi and Nate Webb, are natives of Loveland and have based the festival on their early years as a young couple sitting on a roo op nearly 20 years ago. Now they share the magic from their own family with the city of Loveland through the Fire and Ice Festival.

“We are the land of love and we need to become that,” Nate said.

That’s exactly what they did by bringing a team of pyrotechnics and city planners together to ensure visitors have a close-to-home Disney experience. As business owners of Blazen Illuminations, Heidi and Nate are proud to have brought back Loveland’s Fire and Ice Festival in 2017 and are expected to have welcomed more than 3,600 visitors from all areas of Colorado.

Heidi said she likes to think of the festival as Disneyland for people who don’t get to go.

The festival’s third year takes close to six months to plan and execute. The Webbs plan in early March and work in unison with the city of Loveland when contacting all the talented artists, businesses and partners that make the event possible. e three day festival features eight breweries, two distilleries, 45 live performance artists and musicians that give Colorado residents a family friendly experience.

Steel owl fire sculpture designed by Gammaspace Art Collective in Golden, Colo. for this years Fire and Ice Festival in Loveland Colorado on Feb. 12. Photo by Karson Hallaway • cgonza88@msudenver.edu

People come to visit the three day Fire and Ice Festival because its curators and planners of Loveland City bring the magical experience and pair it well with the locally owned businesses that support its downtown center.

“It’s good for downtown,” said Dillon Schmidt, the doorman at Chillers located in Loveland, when asked what he thought about the festival.

Every year Loveland closes five blocks of 4th St. for the festival’s carnival games, rides, live performance stages and ice and fire sculptures.

When visitors arrive they’re welcomed with a lively downtown city center that has a carnival style carousel. Some of the most notable attractions visitors come to see are the re and ice sculptures made by local Colorado artists.

Ice Sculpture designed by Luan Bui at Loveland’s Fire and Ice Festival on Feb. 10. Photo by Karson Hallaway • cgonza88@msudenver.edu

On the block between N. Garfield Ave. and Railroad Ave. are re sculptures designed by lead designers Jordan Pai Quan and Veronica Rivard at Gammaspace Art Collective. e collective is an artist organization run by a team of designers of the re sculptures: Joshua Birkmaier, Caitlin Morris and Misty Powel.

“Loveland is great because it allows us to share art with a community who has never seen it before” Morris said.

The art collective has designed multiple steel sculptures for the Apogaea Colorado Burning Man sanctioned event.

At the festival, Birkmaier and Morris present two ice sculptures. One is titled, Hin Han, a flaming owl that serves as the arbitral of the afterlife, and the other an Arcus Hymenoptera, which Morris describes as an ant archway formed by two winged ants holding a metal heart in the center. e archway theme comes from the collective’s division at the Burning Man sanction which symbolizes what happens when people come together, explains Morris.

On the evening of Feb. 12, Heidi and Nate had to say goodbye to their more than 3,600 visitors and shut down the multiple day-to-day operations. However, what was most surprising was how the Webbs greeted the end of the festival.

“Ironically, dead silence when it’s all put away and what’s left is only as good as the impression you put on people,” said Heidi.

Author: Karson Hallaway

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