Queenstown ice carving creates a stir

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An ice carving in downtown Queenstown to celebrate winter is creating a stir.

Auckland ice carver Victor Cagayat (top, bottom left) has been busy since 10am creating the sculpture with tools and chainsaws at the top of The Mall on Camp Street. Once complete, the impressive piece will announce: “Queenstown 2013 – winter starts here” to borrow from the catch phrase of Queenstown’s American Express Winter Festival.

It’s all part of the buzz building in Queenstown ahead of the southern hemisphere’s biggest winter party – the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival – kicking off tomorrow.

The ice sculpture – which will stay in place for six weeks and change every fortnight – is the brainchild of Queenstown’s downtown Cookie Time store manager Vicki Onions.

Onions, who has support from Winter Festival, Destination Queenstown and Queenstown Lakes District Council for the project, has raised $17,000 from retailers and landlords to make it happen.

A chuffed Onions tells scene.co.nz: “It’s really exciting and we just hope it continues to be really cold – as long as it doesn’t have direct sunlight and rain there’s no reason why it won’t last.

“It’s to increase foot traffic downtown and The Mall and to be an attraction that Queenstown can be proud of – it’s entertainment.”

A decent crowd has been gathered around the carving since this morning – this afternoon police drove past and urged people three-deep on the road to get back on the footpath before someone gets hit by a passing car.

It’s understood Onions will be interviewed live from the top of The Mall on TV One’s Breakfast show tomorrow morning about 7.30am.