New York officials: It's 'too cold' for Ice Festival

By Daniel Uria   |   Feb. 13, 2016 at 1:03 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Officials in New York City cited cold weather as the reason to cancel the annual Central Park Ice Festival.

The Central Park Conservancy announced the Valentine's weekend event would be cancelled due to "extreme temperature and high winds" in the area.

The free annual event typically features lights and music as well as ice sculptures carved by local artists. The festival's ice-sculptor-in-chief Shintaro Okamoto told the New York Times the cancellation is "a bummer" and insisted that similar events have been carried out despite extremely cold weather.

"We've done exhibitions and competitions in the past where it was negative 20s, negative 30s up in Fairbanks, Alaska and Ottawa, Canada," Okamoto said.

The Central Park Conservancy stood by its decision to cancel the festival, which will not be rescheduled despite forecasts of temperatures in the high 40s as early as Tuesday.

"Safety is of the utmost importance to the Central Park Conservancy," spokeswoman Jordan Jacuzzi said. "We have to take all things into consideration."

A polar vortex sweeping across the northeastern United States has placed New York and several other states under Wind chill advisories, with New York City potentially facing its coldest Valentine's day since 1916.

The Central Park Ice Festival was the second Winter-themed event to be cancelled due to poor weather. Park officials canceled the Winter Jam event in January before a blizzard dumped inches of snow in the city.

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