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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2006
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Hooded parkas are included in admission price for 'Ice!' at Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville. And they're needed. The temperature averages 9 degrees. Children especially like to swoosh down three ice slides and adults admire detailed ice carvings.
Courtesy photo
Hooded parkas are included in admission price for "Ice!" at Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville. And they're needed. The temperature averages 9 degrees. Children especially like to swoosh down three ice slides and adults admire detailed ice carvings.

Frozen treat
Chinese artisans turn Opryland complex into icy winter wonderland

By Patrice Stewart
pstewart@decaturdaily.com 340-2446

NASHVILLE — Imagine a walk down Candyland Lane, with all your favorite treats sculpted in brightly colored ice.

About 5,000 blocks of ice, each weighing about 360 pounds, were used to craft such treats as ice cream sundaes and candy.
Courtesy photo
About 5,000 blocks of ice, each weighing about 360 pounds, were used to craft such treats as ice cream sundaes and candy.
An ice cream sundae with whipped cream and cherry on top looks good enough to sample, along with the peppermints, lollipops, candy canes, Life Savers and M&M's on the ice candy house.

They're all part of Ice! This frozen holiday treat at Opryland Resort & Convention Center complex in Nashville will be open through Tuesday and will make a sweet stop for the whole family during New Year's weekend.

You can walk through three colorful train cars made of ice and stop for photos on an ice bench in front of an icy waterfall with deer nearby.

Stroll through an igloo and ice tunnel, watch polar bears carved from ice drink Coke in honor of the exhibit sponsor, and view a Nativity scene that looks as if it was created in crystal.

Then pull your thick, hooded parka — issued with each ticket — close and walk up the steps where toy soldiers with icy expressions guard the entrance to three ice slides. You can swoosh down them over and over until you are chilled enough to sip hot chocolate available in the gift shop area.

A team of 35 artisans come from Harbin, China, each year to chisel these scenes from 1.5 million pounds of ice. Some displays are more than 25 feet high.

A lighting design firm highlights the scenes, and the Gaslight Theater building averages 9 degrees, so that nothing in the 20,000-square-foot display will melt, even when its 65 degrees outdoors.

This year's display is almost totally redesigned, with the sweet treats, train and many other additions, so even if you've visited in another year, it will look different. Children love this interactive ice display and want to slide over and over. Adults can slide, too, but most prefer to stand back and admire the detailed ice carvings.

Ice artists used about 5,000 blocks of ice to make this winter wonderland. Each block contains 45 gallons of frozen water and weighs about 360 pounds.

Lighting designer David Agress highlighted the displays with fluorescent lights frozen in the ice, as well as 400 theatrical-type lights shining on the creations.

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