Opening day for the 27th annual Zehnder's Snowfest in Frankenmuth

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FRANKENMUTH (WJRT) (01/24/18)--Downtown Frankenmuth is frozen over for the 27th annual Zhender's Snowfest.

"Oh, this is outstanding. It's hard to imagine that we've been doing this for 27 years. We're excited for a great weekend," said event director John Shelton.

Snowfest has earned the reputation of being the the biggest snow sculpting and ice carving competition in the US and one of the largest in North America. Several special happenings are planned, including a visit by the Detroit Tigers and performances by the 338th Batallion Army Band.

"Fireworks, petting zoo, pony rides, bands, beer, brats," said Shelton.

Record crowds are expected, with close to 80,000 people dropping by on Saturday alone.

"Hotels for Saturday night, it's very difficult to find anything in the Frankenmuth and Birch Run area. We have occupancy on Friday," said Shelton.

As for the snow sculpting competition, artists are chasing after $2,500 in first place prize money.

"We have a team from Argentina, we have two teams from Canda, and we have a team from Mexico. That's our international flavor. We have teams from all over the United States," said Shelton.

This is serious buisiness for Flint resident and artist Al Foster. He's a five-time Snowfest winner, and last year's People Choice honoree. He's faced some challenges while working working on his sculpture this week.

"We lost a day on Monday, so we need to put in extra hours to make up for lost time, because of the rain," said Foster.

This year's entry has a Greek mythology theme.

"Perseus chopping off Medusa's head," said Foster.

Snowfest events run through Monday, and admission is free. For a schedule, visit

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