Ice Breaker Festival brings life back to winter

Posted at 9:36 AM, Feb 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-01 09:37:21-05

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. - Embracing the cold can be a challenge for some in West Michigan, but the Ice Breaker Festival in South Haven has been putting the fun back into Winter for 22 years. Crowds by the hundreds hit the streets admiring ice sculptors by local artists along city streets, free chili cooked by 24 restaurants and bars, and many more family-fun activities.

Sculptors and artists lined the streets early Saturday morning for the annual Ice Breaker festival, an event put together by the South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce; an office of three that's been hosting this event since it's conception.

Free chili was prepared and served from 24 restaurants and bars for the annual Pro Chili Cook-off. Captain Nemo's even served chili flavored ice-cream.

"It's just a holiday, with holiday spirits," said Susan Diepen, Assistant Director of the South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce. "Everyone looks forward to it each year. When Fall comes, it's like, 'How long until Ice Breaker gets here'?"

Because South haven is famous for Summer tourism, Ice Breaker is an economically important event for the city as a whole. Diepen says it brings life back to the bars, restaurants, and merchants that have been sitting idle since Summer.

If you missed out on the fun Saturday afternoon, there's still a few events happening Sunday. You can find out more at