Many thanks to today’s guest writer, the wonderful Jennie Sjursen of Lil Blu Dragonfly Photography. She stopped by to share her recent trip to ICE! — which had everybody sliding into the holiday spirit.


9˚F!?! Are you kidding me?? Somehow I had found myself going to a place where I was willingly going to freeze my butt off! Where was I going, you might ask? I was on my way to ICE! at the Gaylord National Resort of course! Your next question might be “What exactly is ICE!?”.

ICE! is an amazing, bright, colorful, 15,000 square foot extravaganza all created out of…. ICE of course! This amazing, temporary art installment (and once you see it you will agree it is art!) was created by a small army of people from Harbin, China. This year’s theme was taken from Dr Seuss’s classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The artists took nearly 2 million pounds of ice to carve, build and create a winter wonderland.

I knew I was in for something special when standing by the ticket line I saw this huge Who-like Christmas tree. As I wandered closer over, I realized the entire tree was made out of Peeps! I kid you not! The entire thing was made of green tree, pink bunnies and the original yellow Peeps. Loved watching people’s reaction when they came closer and realized the entire tree was made of Peeps. There was also a guess how many Peeps it took to make this tree contest. I declined to enter afraid I might have to go home with the Peep tree!

Before I knew it I found myself standing in line, being passed a big, bulky, blue parka to put OVER the winter coat I was already wearing. Memories of me being stuffed into my snowsuit as a child came flooding back. I had never been so grateful in my life to look and feel like the State Puff Marshmallow Man as I was to be 30 minutes later! Cold doesn’t even begin to describe it! Here is the thing though; you are so in awe of the colors and details that you completely forget all about the cold. All that comes to mind is “WOW”, “AMAZING” and “I can’t BELIEVE they could do this with ICE!”

As you weave your way through the different scenes, you find yourself in what you imagine is the center of this huge tented arena. In this center, you find yourself in the middle of the Whoville Village and there are not one, but two ice slides!! Another reason the big blue parkas came in handy. Up the stairs you went, where even the railings and small details are created out of ice, and down one of the two ice slides you come down. It was the unexpected fun little twist in the middle. How often do you get to say “Yeah, this weekend I slid down an ice slide. You?”

The artist of Harbin, China did an amazing job of recreating and telling the story of “The Grinch”. You feel like you’re right in the middle of one of your favorite holiday books, down to the last detail. I know I’m gushing but it truly was an amazing site to behold. I can’t wait to see what they come back to create next year!

Jennie Sjursen is the owner/photographer of Lil Blu Dragonfly, a Child and Family lifestyle photography studio. She believes in family, laughing til you cry, getting dirty and playing hard… You can find Jennie and see her work at www.lilbludragonfly.com or www.facebook.com/lilbludragonfly.