PUTNAM —  In just under a month, downtown Putnam will host the hottest winter event in the region – the 2016 Fire & Ice Festival. On Feb. 13, the public is invited to experience more than two dozen ice carvings, glowing fire torches, fire dancing performances, and a chocolate sculpting and molding contest. 
2016 will see the return of the Fire & Ice Chocolate Contest. Back for a second year in a row, the contest will include sculpting and molding categories and will allow chefs, students, and novices to show off their talents. Last year’s winners included an elegant hat adorned with hand-crafted flowers, a whimsical queen of hearts figure, and a jolly chef – all created from chocolate. Submissions and the winning pieces can be viewed at The Empty Spaces Project Gallery at 114 Main Street throughout the festival.
In addition to the fan-favorite chocolate sculptures, the event will also continue the tradition of professional and amateur ice carvings decorating the streets of downtown Putnam. Beginning at 10:00 a.m., there will be pre-carved ice blocks as well as professional ice carving demonstrations by Ice Matters of Cheshire. The creative spirit of northeastern Connecticut will be on display as professional and amateur artists carve ice blocks, all sponsored by local businesses. Throughout the day, patrons can watch as 300-pound ice blocks are transformed into a variety of shapes and figures.  
There will be plenty of ways to keep warm, with dinner and drink specials available at local restaurants. The festival also provides an opportunity for newcomers to discover the many shops and galleries of Putnam. For families, there will be an appearance of two favorite animated characters, sure to thaw any “frozen” hearts. The event will also include photo boards with famous couples from history and pop culture. Sure to please the sweet tooth of all ages, milk and dark chocolate Fire & Ice candy bars will be available for purchase, with prizes hidden under the wrappers of select bars.
As the sun goes down, luminaria will fill downtown Putnam with an ambient glow. Fire torches will help light the way as Main Street transforms into a romantic setting for the perfect Valentine’s Day celebration. Adding to the spectacle of the festival, visitors will be wowed by Fire Dancer Elektra as she performs from 5 to 9 p.m.
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