Fire & Ice Night returns

First Friday series marks its first year of downtown events

Times file photo Ice sculptor and chef Tyson Whistler shows off one of his creations during last year’s First Fridays Fire & Ice Night. This January marks the one-year anniversary of the series and 2018 will feature several different themes.

Marietta Main Street will mark one year of its popular First Fridays series with the return of Fire & Ice Night this week. Area merchants, artists and musicians will combine their vocations and talents to bring an air of magic to downtown.

“It was just so well-received, we decided to do it again,” said Debbie Cline, owner of Twisted Sisters boutique and the chair of the promotion committee for Marietta Main Street. “The whole First Fridays idea has just taken off, I think because it gives the community the chance to come out to stores that are open until 9, and we do it once a month instead of just during the summer.”

First Fridays was started in January 2017 as a sequel to the Merchants & Artist Walk, something that Main Street had tried for quite a few years. The year-old idea offers different themes each month incorporating schools, the arts, and different fairs and festivals.

“We brainstorm to come up with new ideas,” Cline said. “I think First Fridays is something that is just going to grow bigger.”

Fire & Ice Night will feature special operating hours for merchants, artists and musicians performing and various related events downtown, from the Adelphia to the Peoples Bank Theatre.

“I think some merchants will have hot chocolate and some of the bars might have fire-themed drinks,” said Cline, explaining the juxtaposition of the name.

Last year, the Burning Dawn fire performance troupe performed at the armory but had to cancel this year at the last minute, according to Marietta Main Street director Cristie Thomas.

The highlight of the event will be the eight ice carvings located at different businesses, courtesy of artist Tyson Whistler.

“I will have seven placed around town and do a live carving at Twisted Sisters starting around 4 or 5,” said Whistler, 33, who is also executive chef at Glenwood Retirement Community.

Baker & Baker, The Galley and Adelphia, Riverside Artists Gallery and Marietta Adventure Company, Fenton, Top Drawer, the Cook’s Shop and Peoples Bank Theatre will all have themed carvings outside each business.

“I am thinking of an underwater theme for the live carving, something with a shell and a pearl and maybe some angel fish,” Whistler said.

Each carving takes no less than three hours to carve and requires no rain and temperatures below 40 degrees. Whistler has been working in the freezer at The Lafayette Hotel trying to get each one ready. He enjoys his hobby so much that he has decided to make a career of it.

“I have about 20 to 25 customers a year through word of mouth but I am planning in 2018 to make it a business,” he said. “The best part is just being able to share with other people and to have the work appreciated.”

If you go

¯ What: First Fridays Fire & Ice Night.

¯ When: Friday from 5 to 9 p.m.

¯ Where: Downtown Marietta.

¯ Details: Merchants open late, restaurants offer unique menu items, artists and musicians highlighted.

¯ For information:

Upcoming themes

¯ February: Wine & Chocolate.

¯ March: Nonprofit night.

¯ April: Marietta’s Birthday Party.

¯ May: Marietta Derby.

¯ June: Downtown Mini Golf.

¯ July: Downtown Art Walk.

¯ August: Once Upon a Time

¯ September: Back to School Bash.

¯ October: Witches Night.

¯ November: Kids Market.

¯ December: Moonlight Madness.

Source: Marietta Main Street.