The International Ice Sculpture Festival is one of the most beautiful and notable cultural events to take place in Latvia during winter. This year marks its 20th anniversary. In honour of this milestone and looking both back in history and forward into the future, the festival’s theme this year is laconic yet meaningful – Dreams. During its many years of existence, the International Ice Sculpture Festival, which takes place in Jelgava, has grown and gained popularity not only among visitors and artists, but also on the European ice art scene, also becoming one of the TOP 10 largest ice sculpture competitions in the world. It is the biggest and most anticipated ice art event in Latvia and the Baltics.

This year, the festival will creatively challenge 30 artists from 10 countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway and China. With their artwork, the sculptors will reveal the unique nature of ice as a working material – it is transparent, fragile, unfamiliar and not always readily available, which fascinates not only the artists themselves, but also the audience.

1998 Ice Festival in Jelgava

25 December 1998, Jelgava City Central Square


The festival’s origins date back to 1998, when the idea of an ice sculpture festival in Jelgava was born. Even though the idea was there, bringing it to life was not easy due to a lack of experience and insufficient funds. It had to be proven that an ice sculpture exhibition was something important for the city, something that would put it on the Latvian culture map. Back then, nobody dared to dream of anything bigger. There were also no people to organise such an event with. To arouse interest, an extensive cultural programme was created with the participation of Father Christmas, seeing as the festival took place on Christmas, 25 December 1998. The most important component however, was the ice sculptures. 10 sculptures were commissioned from the brothers Anrijs and Rinalds Opincāns. The festival ended with an ice sculpture auction. It wasn’t a serious auction because the starting prices were as low as a couple of lats. The buyers were eager to bid even higher, making it a fun time for themselves and the spectators. Compared to the ice sculpture festivals of later years, the first one was, you could say, wet behind the ears. But the small sculptures still brought joy to the visitors because nothing of the like had ever been seen before in Jelgava or the rest of Latvia. From a modest event the Ice Festival in Jelgava has grown into a significant brand, the International Ice Sculpture Festival, which is graced by artists from nearly all continents.

1999 Ice Sculpture Festival in Jelgava

17–19 December 1999, Jelgava City Central Square


Themes: Fairy Tale Character and open theme


In 1999, Jelgava made its mark on the global map of ice sculpture festivals. On its second year, the Ice Sculpture Festival became an international event. The organisers invited artists from Nordic countries: four sculptors from Denmark, and two from Sweden. Latvia was also represented by two artists. Each of the participants had to make two sculptures: one according to the theme chosen by the organisers (which participated in the competition) and another one open to free interpretation. On the opening day, the sculptures were evaluated by the jury.


1st place – Anrijs Opincāns (Latvia). Little Mermaid 
2nd place – Jon Stahn (Denmark). Extraterrestrial Being 2 
3rd place – Susanne Holmberg (Sweden). Saturn at Home 
People’s choice (AS Laima) – Jon Stahn (Denmark). Extraterrestrial Being 2


2000 Ice Sculpture Festival in Jelgava

15–23 December 2000, Duke Jacob’s Square


Themes: Ice Flower and 21st Century Symbol


Each festival in Jelgava brings something new. What was different about the third festival in 2000, was that sculptures were taken to other cities as well. There are no travelling ice sculpture exhibitions anywhere else in the world, so Latvia brought something new to the game. Of course, transporting the sculptures required a lot of financial investment and technical support. In warm winters that are unfavourable to sculptures, the sculptors might be forced to carve them anew and the project managers, to pick up a chisel and make minor adjustments to the melting artwork. As the winter months in Latvia are dark, lighting plays an important role, allowing the sculptures to be seen after dark and creating beautiful light effects. At first, powerful spotlights were used, but, as they emit not only light but also heat, they made the sculptures melt. In recent years, special light sources have been introduced, which are integrated into special platforms and give off light without harming the fragile sculptures. The colourful lights put the artworks in focus and create a beautiful display of colours, which are pleasing to the eye. To intensify the emotional effect, the organisers use background music as well. This combination of stimuli naturally attracts people. In 2000, the organisers announced a children’s drawing competition and a photo competition to promote interest in ice sculpture festivals. These efforts soon bore fruit – the festival became increasingly popular in Latvia and the number of financial and informative supporters grew. Due to the increase in financial resources, from the third festival onward, all those hoping to display their work had to participate in a preliminary contest. As time went by, the number of applications increased. And with the growing number of applications, the technical and artistic level of sculptures also elevated. 


1st place – Anrijs Opincāns (Latvia). You Are My Flower, You Are My Love 
2nd place – Algirdas Bosas (Lithuania). Reflection 
3rd place – Üllar Kallau (Estonia). The Knight’s Rose
People’s choice – Anrijs Opincāns (Latvia). How Do You See Yourself in the 21st Century?


2001 The International Travelling Ice Sculpture Festival – Horse 2002

14–23 December 2001 

14–16 December at Duke Jacob’s Square in Jelgava; 17 December in Big Square in Ventspils; 18 December in Rose Square in Liepāja; 19 December by the Culture House in Valmiera; 22 December at Dzintari Concert Hall in Jūrmala; 23 December by the Congress Centre in Riga. Ice sculpture auction on 23 December in Riga.


Themes: Next Year’s Horoscope and open theme Symbols and Signs


1st place – Zigmunds Bielis (Latvia). Dove of Peace 
2nd place – Zigmunds Vilnis (Latvia). I Am a Fish Too 
3rd place – Algirdas Bosas (Lithuania). Key to Heaven 
People’s choice – Anrijs Opincāns (Latvia).


2002 The 5th International Ice Sculpture Festival

19–29 December 2002 

22 December at Duke Jacob’s Square in Jelgava; 23 December at the open-air stage in Kuldīga; 25 December at the square by Dubulti Station in Jūrmala; 26 December at Unity Square in Daugavpils; 27 December in Šiauliai; 29 December by the Congress Centre in Riga.


Themes: To Believe or Not to Believe and open theme


1st place – Algirdas Bosas (Lithuania). Rain on Christmas 
2nd place – Krists Erbs (Latvia). In My Garden 
3rd place – Guntis Svikulis (Latvia). The Cat Who Escaped the Dachshund 
People’s choice – Zigmunds Bielis (Latvia). Make Love, Not War!


2004 The 6th International Travelling Ice Sculpture Festival

27 January–8 February 2004 

31 January–1 February in the square behind the Culture House in Jelgava; 7 February by the Culture Centre in Valmiera; 8 February by the Congress Centre in Riga; 9 February by the Culture Centre in Ogre; 10 February by the People’s House in Jēkabpils; 12 February in Big Square in Ventspils.


Theme: Fashion 2004 


Starting with the 6th International Ice Sculpture Festival in 2004, due to the inconsistent weather conditions in December that range from snow and frost to sleet and rain, the organisers decided that from now on the festival should be held in February, rather than December, which is colder than the other months of the year. For this reason, there is a ‘gap year’ between the 5th and the 6th festivals. However, the 6th International Ice Sculpture Festival was considerably bigger. It saw the participation of more artists from European countries and even from Australia. Besides individual sculptures, which were made from a single ice block, sculptures were also carved by teams of two artists. Starting from 2004, the festival also featured 3 metre high snow sculptures. Both team and snow sculptures were available to audiences in Jelgava only. There was also an ice bar and a snow slide for children. It has to be noted that snow sculptures can only be made in winters with enough snow.


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Tatyana Sagadeeva (Russia). The Rising Moon 
2nd place – Leo Palomäki (Finland). Fashion Team 
People’s choice – Rinalds Opincāns (Latvia). Bull’s-Eye 
Latvijas Avīze newspaper prize – Gaits Burvis (Latvia). Fashion Takes No Prisoners

Team sculptures:
1st place – Algirdas Bosas, Kęstutis Musteikis (Lithuania). The Neverending Song 
2nd place – Tatyana Sagadeeva, Rashid Sagadeev (Russia). First Snow 
3rd place – Romuald Herbaux, Michel Authier (France). Acrobat


2005 The 7th International Ice Sculpture Festival

31 January–14 February 2005 

5–6 February in the square behind the Culture House in Jelgava; 10 February by the Culture Centre in Valmiera; 11 February by the Culture Centre in Ogre; 12 February in Dubulti Square in Jūrmala; 13 February by the Congress Centre in Riga; 14–27 February at Lido Recreation Centre in Riga.


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Andrejs Joksts (Latvia). My Last Dream Teddy 
2nd place – Risto Immonen (Finland). Trio 
People’s choice – Rinalds Opincāns (Latvia). Touched by Love

Team sculptures:
1st place – Kārlis Īle, Andrejs Joksts (Latvia), Antti Pedrozo (Finland). Stairway to Heaven 
2nd place – Konstantin Selikhanov, Alexander Shappo (Belarus). Commemorating Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 
3rd place – Ģirts Burvis, Gaits Burvis (Latvia). Cupboard of Frozen Dreams


2006 The 8th International Ice Sculpture Festival

23 January–5 February 2006 

28–29 January in the square behind the Culture House in Jelgava; 1 February in Big Square in Ventspils; 2 February by the Ice Hall in Tukums; 3 February by the Culture Centre in Ogre; 4 February in Dubulti Square in Jūrmala; 5 February by the Congress Centre in Riga; 6–14 February at SKY Shopping Mall in Riga.


Theme: Wedding 


The central theme of the 8th International Ice Sculpture Festival in 2006 was Wedding. A wedding altar was built from naturally-sourced ice to gather newlyweds from all over Latvia.


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Darren Jackson (Great Britain). Love’s Embrace 
2nd place – Alexander Shappo (Belarus). One Heart for Two. 
People’s choice – Wilfred Stijger (Netherlands). Dream

Team sculptures:
1st place – Alan Magee, Daniel Doyle (Ireland). Chameleon Games 
2nd place – Ģirts Burvis, Gaits Burvis (Latvia). Greenhouse Effect 
3rd place – Konstantin Selikhanov, Alexander Shappo (Belarus). Evolution


2007 The 9th International Ice Sculpture Festival

5–11 February 2007 

10–11 February at Duke Jacob’s Square in Jelgava; 16–18 February in Ogre


Theme: Modern Ice Age 


The 9th International Ice Sculpture Festival in 2007 is notable for several things: five snow sculptures were made from locally-sourced snow, ice sculptures stopped travelling around Latvia, and only citizens of Ogre were fortunate enough to welcome them home. But most importantly, one night some unknown pranksters made their own snow sculpture. It was later discovered to have been the spontaneous idea of two citizens of Jelgava, Maksims Čertovs and his brother. As the execution was more impressive than his daring, he was offered to carve an ice bar at the next festival.


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Edith Van De Wetering (Netherlands). Melting Point 
2nd place – Algirdas Bosas (Lithuania). Greenhouse 
3rd place – Sandis Kondrāts (Latvia). The Sang Froid Age 
Consolation prize – Roberts Salaks (Latvia). Northern Girl’s Dress 

Team sculptures:
1st place – Daniel Doyle, Alan Magee (Ireland). Why Are We Here? 
2nd place – Natalia Chistyakova, Evgeny Zavjalov (Russia). Ice Venus 
2nd place – Sandis Kondrāts, Uldis Zariņš (Latvia). Latvian Woman 
3rd place – Jan Fedorčák, Miloš Kubišta (the Czech Republic). Cactus 

Snow sculptures:
Recognition award – Matīss Kalniņš, Raitis Stiuka (Latvia). Thawed 


2008 The 10th International Ice Sculpture Festival

4–10 February 2008 

9 February at Duke Jacob’s Square in Jelgava 


Theme: Water World 


The 10th festival in 2008 was characterised by warm weather. Perhaps, it was ‘brought on’ by the organisers themselves by choosing Water World as the festival’s theme. February came with rain and temperatures significantly above zero. Because of this, the fragile and intricate ice sculptures didn’t last a day, and in the evening some of them had already collapsed in a heap of tiny crystals that were melting into the ground. There is no challenging the gods. However, the whims of nature did nothing to kill the mood of the citizens of Jelgava, who still revelled in the mysteries of ice. The festival had grown too big for Duke Jacob’s Square.


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Kārlis Īle (Latvia). Umbrella 
2nd place – Tatyana Sagadeeva (Russia). Birth 
3rd place – Stephanie Quayle (Great Britain). Needlefish 
People’s choice – Sandis Kondrāts (Latvia). Watery Conscience 
AS Parex banka choice award – Uldis Zariņš (Latvia). The Catch

Team sculptures:
1st place – Kārlis Īle, Andrejs Joksts (Latvia). Whale 
2nd place – Andrey Molokov, Irina Chistyakova (Russia). Water Mirror 
3rd place – Miloš Kubišta, Jan Fedorčák (the Czech Republic). Gold Coral


2009 The 11th International Ice Sculpture Festival

9–15 February 2009 (extended until 28 February) Jelgava, Victory Park 


Theme: Love Galaxy


The 11th International Ice Sculpture Festival in 2009 was moved to the spacious Victory Park. It could accommodate bigger numbers of both sculptures and visitors. Because of this, the number of artists invited was also higher. Some years, there were nearly 30 of them, so, including team sculptures, snow sculptures and special orders, the number of sculptures was close to 100.


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Matthew Chaloner (Great Britain). The Growth of Eternal Love 
2nd place – Kęstutis Musteikis (Lithuania). One Moment Like All Life 
3rd place – Irina Chistyakova (Russia). Connection 
People’s choice – Sandis Kondrāts (Latvia). Bitter Happiness 

Team sculptures:
1st place – Kęstutis Musteikis, Algirdas Bosas (Lithuania). Along the Milky Way 
2nd place – Edith Van De Wetering, Wilfred Stijger (the Netherlands). Universal Love 
3rd place – Natalia Chistyakova, Evgeny Zavjalov (Russia). Paranoia


2010 The 12th International Ice Sculpture Festival

7–21 February 2010

12–14 February at Victory Park in Jelgava; 19–21 February by the Culture Centre in Ogre


Theme: Around the World


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Ainars Zingniks (Latvia). Catching the Wind 
2nd place – Tatyana Kuznetsova (Russia). Thought Voyage
3rd place – Matthew Foster (Great Britain). Paper Dreams

Team sculptures:
1st place – Ruslan Korovkov, Irina Taflevskaya (Bulgaria). Through Other Worlds
2nd place – Antti Pedrozo (Finland), Fergus Mulvany (Ireland). Mind Revolution
3rd place – Kārlis Īle (Latvia), Vilius Matutis (Lithuania). Doors
Jury’s prize for mastery – Andrey Molokov (Russia), Ainars Zingniks (Latvia). Yin-Yang 


2011 The 13th International Ice Sculpture Festival

7–13 February 2011, Victory Park in Jelgava


Theme: My Religion 


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Sandis Kondrāts (Latvia). Free Fall 
2nd place – Vitautas Musteikis (Lithuania). Unfinished Prayer 
3rd place – Kārlis Īle (Latvia). Naked Freedom 

Team sculptures:
1st place – Sandis Kondrāts, Krists Zariņš (Latvia). Story of a Latvian 
2nd place – Tatyana Kuznetsova, Marina Erkovich (Russia). Spirit is Freedom, and Freedom is the Triumph of Spirit! 
3rd place – Matthew Foster, Darren Jackson (Great Britain). Jump and Spin, and Dive, and Laugh 
Jury’s choice – Aleksey Verbitsky, Denis Novitsky (Russia). Absolute Freedom. Flight of Fancy


2012 The 14th International Ice Sculpture Festival

6–12 February 2012

10–12 February (extended until 28 February) at Victory Park in Jelgava; 15–16 February in Ogre; 17–19 February at the Selonian Farmstead in Jēkabpils


Theme: Mysteries


In 2012, Jelgava witnessed the carving of the highest ice sculpture in the Baltics, the 9 metre high Flame That Gives Wings.


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Kęstutis Musteikis (Lithuania). Is an Apple Really the Beginning of It All?
2nd place – Ruslan Korovkov (Russia). Transcendental World
3rd place – Donatas Mockus (Lithuania). Mr. Paganini
Jury’s choice – Sergey Tselebrovsky (Russia). Unworldly Love

Team sculptures:
1st place – Kārlis Īle (Latvia), Vilius Matutis (Lithuania). Flame That Gives Wings
2nd place – Dzhulustan Markov, Kyunney Takasayeva (Russia). Ikedzukuri
3rd place – Sergey Loginov, Igor Nareyko (Russia). The Legend of the Famous Warrior Nani
Jury’s choice – Andrey Molokov, Sergey Tselebrovsky (Russia). The Mysterious Halloween 
Jury’s choice – Agnese Rudzīte-Kirillova (Latvia), Donatas Mockus (Lithuania). Biochemistry


2013 The 15th International Ice Sculpture Festival

8–10 February 2013, Victory Park


Theme: Planet Ice


The International Ice Sculpture Festival celebrated its 15th anniversary by transforming Jelgava into Planet Ice. As at any galactic birthday party there were various surprises, six fireworks displays, different shows, a record number of ice sculptures, and even a unique, unprecedented ice sauna. 
Since 2013, the organisers evaluate submitted drawings and choose 30 world-renowned artists, who spend five days creating individual sculptures, as well as sculptures in teams of two. 


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Donatas Mockus (Lithuania). Black and White
2nd place – Aleksey Verbitsky (Russia). Flying Above the Waves
3rd place – Matthew Thomas Foster (Great Britain). Solar Rings
Jury’s choice – Vadim Polin (Russia). Ice-Flower

Team sculptures:
1st place – Sergey Tselebrovsky, Andrey Molokov (Russia). The Girl on the Moon
2nd place – Kęstutis Musteikis, Vytautas Musteikis (Lithuania). Frozen Howl
3rd place – Kārlis Īle, Vilius Matutis (Latvia). To Touch the Sun
Jury’s choice – Inese Valtere-Ūlande (Latvia), Donatas Mockus (Lithuania). Meeting with the Moon.


2014 The 16th International Ice Sculpture Festival

7–9 February 2014, Victory Park


Theme: Wonderland


The 16th International Ice Sculpture Festival can be described with the word ‘stability’. It is due to its unchanging traditions, time and place. Organisers already know what the festival visitors and participants expect. As the festival’s traditions evolves and the number of visitors increases, the demand for quality and diversity grows. Alongside the large number of sculptures, the festival offers a plethora of other entertainment opportunities: children’s programmes, attractions, performances by popular musicians, fireworks displays, and various objects from ice, which can not only be observed from afar, but actually used. As the years go by, the solid values remain the same, and the favourite object of visitors is still the Ice Bar.


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Donatas Mockus (Lithuania). Shepherd
2nd place – Lauri Tamm (Estonia). Solar Nest
3rd place – Irina Kudryavtseva (Russia). Happiness
Jury’s choice – Maija Puncule (Latvia). Pixel Man

Team sculptures:
1st place – Andrey Molokov, Sergey Tselebrovsky (Russia). To Catch Good Luck
2nd place – Elena Timofeeva, Pavel Kaltygin (Russia). Sea Princess
3rd place – Inese Valtere-Ūlande (Latvia), Donatas Mockus (Lithuania). Queen
Jury’s choice – Aleksandr Parfenov, Andrey Kohselev (Russia). Dream


2015 The 17th International Ice Sculpture Festival

6–8 February 2015, Pasta Island


Theme: Ice Fairy Tale


2015 had new challenges and trials in store for the organisers of the International Ice Sculpture Festival and new surprises for its visitors. This year was marked not only by a change in the location to Pasta Island, but also the 750th anniversary of Jelgava.


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Andrey Koshelev (Russia). The Voice of the Ocean
2nd place – Kārlis Īle (Latvia). Morning Star
3rd place – Vitautas Musteikis (Lithuania). Chest of Tales
Jury’s choice – Aleksandr Skarednov (Russia). Firebird
Konstantin Evdokimov (Russia). Little Spirit
Ivan Loktiukhin (Russia). Goldfish

Team sculptures:
1st place – Agnese Rudzīte-Kirillova, Anatolijs Kirillovs (Latvia). Shelter
2nd place – Yuri Mistryukov, Maria Mazunina (Russia). The Kiss of the Snow Queen
3rd place – Kārlis Īle, Maija Puncule (Latvia). Northern Crown
Jury’s choice – Steve Armance, David Diatta (France). Glaurung. Who Woke Me Up?


2016 The 18th International Ice Sculpture Festival

5–7 February 2016, Pasta Island


Theme: Wonders of the World


The International Ice Sculpture Festival in Jelgava becomes the biggest festival of sculptural art in the Baltics and the biggest festival of ice art in Northern Europe that is still a competition. The festival is also one of the TOP 10 ice and snow sculpture events in the world, placing Latvia next to big names such as Russia, China, Canada and the USA.


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Kęstutis Musteikis (Lithuania). Snowflake in My Hand
2nd place – Konstantin Evdokimov (Russia). Freedom
3rd place – Ainars Zingniks (Latvia). Cyclops
Jury’s choice – Agnese Rudzīte-Kirillova (Latvia). Chameleon
Anna Evdokimova (Russia). Eye to Eye
Daniil Ambrosov (Russia). Time Machine
Elisabeth Kristensen (Norway). Hanging Out

Team sculptures:
1st place – Kęstutis Musteikis, Vytautas Musteikis (Lithuania). The Birth of a Child
2nd place – Sergey Tselebrovsky (Russia), Wiaczeslaw Borecki (Poland). The Secret of Birth
3rd place – Tautvilas Povilionis, Martynas Gaubas (Lithuania). Chuck Norris vs the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Jury’s choice – Ainars Zingniks, Zīle Ozoliņa-Šneidere (Latvia). Didn’t Expect That?
Aleksey Verbitskiy, Svetlana Verbitskaya (Russia). Bureaucrat
Agnese Rudzīte-Kirillova (Latvija), Maria Mazunina (Russia). The Ability to Fly


2017 The 19th International Ice Sculpture Festival

10–12 February 2017, Pasta Island


Theme: Carnival


The 19th festival serves as a turning point for all upcoming festivals. It is notable not only for the record number of applications and submitted sketches (more than 100) but also for the unexpected number of visitors (85 000). It will kick off next year's anniversary festival, with tougher competition among the artists and bigger and better locations.


Individual sculptures:
1st place – Michela Ciappini (Italy). Guess, Who Am I?
2nd place – Vladimir Mistriukov (Russia). Modern Masks
3rd place – Agnese Rudzīte-Kirillova (Latvia). Always in Fashion
Jury’s choice – Matvey Vavaev (Russia). Dance Fan
Marina Erkovich (Russia). The Time When You Are Different

Team sculptures:
1st place – Vladimir Mistryukov, Yuri Mistryukov (Russia). Freedom
2nd place – Zīle Ozoliņa-Šneidere, Sanita Rāviņa (Latvia). Risk
3rd place – Ivan Zverev, Vadim Parkhomenko (Russia). Mad World
Jury’s choice – Tautvilas Povilionis, Martynas Gaubas (Lithuania). Invite a Punk to the Carnival
Ivan Smirnov, Elena Smirnova (Russia). Moonlight Sonata


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