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Volunteers to protect ice sculptures from vandals

  • Mark Bosworth, a professional wood carver of Athol, carves his ice sculpture in Greenfield in 2016. Recorder File Photo



Recorder Staff
Thursday, February 01, 2018

GREENFIELD — Volunteers will spend the next two nights watching over downtown ice sculptures in an effort to deter vandalism.

Greenfield Recreation Director Christy Moore said volunteers have signed up in two-hour shifts between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The effort began this year after several ice sculptures were smashed overnight during last year’s Winter Carnival.

“Last year was the most amount of vandalism we had ever had with ice sculptures,” Moore said. “After last year, that was one of the first responses — what we could do to protect them for years to come, so that’s why we put this together.”

Amy Proietti of Greenfield is among this year’s volunteers. She decided to take an early-morning shift Saturday after hearing the idea from At-Large City Councilor Penny Ricketts, who is also volunteering.

“(The artists) work on them all afternoon on Friday, and it’s a big draw to downtown at that point, but it’s also supposed to be a big draw for the whole weekend and they were damaged overnight into Saturday last year, and that became the story instead of these amazing works of art that would’ve been enjoyed by everyone for the weekend,” Proietti said. “They would’ve been a great advertisement for the event. It seems so easy to get people to put two hours in and watch the sculptures.”

Moore said that volunteers are asked to sign up with a friend or family member, and may drive their vehicle around downtown or walk.

Ricketts said she plans to drive up and down Main Street or sit near particular sculptures.

“If we can plant ourselves at different sculptures, we may be able to make people think twice,” she said. “I know we are not to confront anyone, but I plan on standing near the sculpture if I see a few people or a group coming. I won't say anything, but I hope my presence deters them.”

Moore said the Recreational Department has also had multiple conversations with the Police Department.

“They’re going to do the best they can to patrol the downtown area, as well,” she said.

Despite last year’s vandalism, Moore said more artists will be creating ice sculptures this year, with a total of 11 coming to downtown.

“We were worried that the carvers themselves were really upset because they spend all day working on the sculptures, and I didn’t want that to deter them from returning this year,” she said. “Happily, they are back and we have some new ones. We have an amazing community, they support the Recreation Department and all the things we do in our community, and we’re grateful for that.”

Moore said there are still three shifts available on Saturday night and one available on Friday. “If people aren’t night owls, there’s other positions that we need help with as well — Breakfast with Olaf or stuff for Sunday at Beacon Field,” she said.

To volunteer, visit greenfieldrecreation.com/wintercarnival.html.