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Vandals Attack Some Ice Sculptures, Other 'Damage' Less Sinister

by on January 03, 2015 7:55 AM

It now appears that vandals did cause some damage to ice sculptures in downtown State College but the most destructive scenes had nothing to do with bad behavior.

The sculptures were carved out of large blocks of ice on Wednesday as part of the traditional First Night State College New Year's Eve celebration.

A team of talented sculptors transformed the ice into amazing works of art in the middle of South Allen Street, creating huge figures such as a stegosaurus, a donkey, a giant fish, an elephant and a miniature ice castle.

According to First Night Executive Director Rick Bryant, someone damaged an ice carving that featured the year "2015" in five-foot-tall numbers. That happened sometime early Thursday morning.

A wishing well and a giant piggy bank were smashed to pieces -- but not by vandals.

Supporters are invited to drop money into slots on those two sculptures to help raise money for the annual First Night event. Bryant says the only way to get the money out requires brute force. "As for the piggy bank and the wishing well, we took the money out. We have to hit it with a sledge hammer to get the money out. We could use a chain saw but we don't have one of those," he says.

Bryant says it appears that some smaller sculptures on display outside area businesses and at Sidney Friedman Park were vandalized. That's something Bryant calls unfortunate, but a pretty common occurrence each year. "I especially don't like it for the smaller ones because businesses like them to stay, and let mother nature take care of them," he says. "Vandals make it harder to sell sponsorships to those businesses." Area businesses pay $255 for each of those smaller statues which are often carved into whimsical shapes, such as a ring outside a jewelery store or a toothbrush made for a dentists office. 

In a message posted on its twitter account, the State College Police Department said it was "investigating the damaged ice sculptures."

Of course, since they're made out of ice, the sculptures are temporary -- and all of the larger statues on South Allen Street and at the park have already been removed. Many will continue standing outside area businesses as long as the weather stays cold.

Hundreds of people braved icy cold weather conditions to take part in this year's First Night salute. Despite the vandalism, Bryant says by all accounts this year's celebration was a success.

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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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