Durham Fire and Ice 2019 has been a fantastic family event, with two days full of flame-based fun. But did you know these facts about how the ice sculptures are created?
From 10 o'clock in the morning through to the February darkness at 6pm, the Durham Fire and Ice show is full of family fun for the half term holidays - from finding the ice sculptures placed around Durham city, to digging for sweeties frozen into the ice block in the chocolate bar challenge, watching the ice carving demonstrations or having a go yourself, and finally the fire juggler and fire show spectacular at the end. It's a packed itinerary.
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But far more work goes into making the two days go off with a bang, with lots of planning and skill that takes almost a year.
Anne-Marie Lacey, who is part of the team behind Durham Fire and Ice, told ExplorAR: "We have a big meeting pretty soon after each event finishes, so we've got a meeting in a few weeks time to talk about next year's event."
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So how big are the ice blocks used to create the sculptures?
The ice sculptures are carved from ice blocks that can weigh up to an incredible four tons. The ice is made just from tap water; however, it's purified before being frozen, to ensure that the final ice sculpture is clear and sparkling.
How are the ice sculptures carved without them melting?
The ice sculptures are actually made in the Liverpool headquarters of ice sculptures Glacial Art, who have previously worked on the set of Game of Thrones. If you ever thought that your office was a bit chilly, then forget it: these guys carve the ice sculptures in a studio workshop that's essentially a huge freezer, working in temperatures that can be as low as -10°C.
Wow - that makes me feel cold just thinking about it. If they're made in Liverpool, then transport must be an issue?
Don't worry - they've thought of that. The ice sculptures are carefully bubble wrapped to insulate them as much as possible, and transported in big refrigerated vans. You can hear Anne-Marie Lacey, who is part of the team behind Durham Fire and Ice, explaining more about the process to ExplorAR:
Surely if the ice sculptures are left out around Durham they must start melting. How do Glacial Arts keep them looking fresh?
You're quite right there - the drip trays and drainage pipes accompanying each sculpture are a testament to the fact that the ice sculptures quickly start melting - especially given the warmer weather we've had over the two days. By the end, the intricately detailed ice sculptures look more like abstract art.
But Glacial Art have got a trick up their sleeve and come prepared. Anne-Marie said: "Not many people realise that actually, while the festival runs over two days, you actually see a different set of sculptures on each day of the festival.
"So they're the exact same designs, but to make sure they're fresh and looking their best, a second set is brought out on the Saturday morning."