The ice age is coming back. And we couldn’t be happier.
There had been something of a question mark over whether the much-loved York Festival Of Angels would return this year. And now we can reveal that it will return, on the weekend of December 13 and 14, 2014.
The celebration of all things ice has become a pre-Christmas favourite with residents and visitors alike since it was launched 14 years ago.
Ice sculptures, fake snow, food and drink, stalls and entertainment turned the magical maze of streets known as the Quarter into a festive wonderland.
It was created by a group of dedicated traders around Swinegate, Back Swinegate and Grape Lane. In recent years City of York Council took an active part in staging the Festival Of Angels.
But the council is not involved this year, which led to uncertainty as to whether the festival would go ahead.
The good news is that one of the founders of the fest, Magdalena Chavez of the El Piano restaurant on Grape Lane, has now confirmed the event is definitely on.
Although up to her chef’s hat in the York Food Festival at the moment, Magdalena was able to tell us: “It will take place on the penultimate weekend before Christmas – this year December 13 and 14.
“The council ran it for a few years but it’s no longer a priority for them. The neighbourhood funded and ran it for years before (about 14 of them!) and we are intending to take it on again.
“People love it!”
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That news was welcomed by Gill Cooper, head of culture, tourism and the city centre at York council.
“For the past couple of years City of York Council has supported local retailers, bars and restaurants to stage the Festival Of Angels which was first held 14 years ago by the local business community and has been hugely beneficial to them,” Gill said.
“This year, we’re delighted that our city centre businesses are in discussion about the running the event themselves and, as ever, we are focusing our efforts on how best we can support them.”
The full details have not been confirmed. A festival website is now live. Currently in something of a frozen state, the website will be updated as events are confirmed.
We spoke to one of the stars of previous York Festival Of Angels, Mat Foster, creative director of ice sculpting sorcerers Glacial Art.
He was delighted to hear the festival was on, having thought that the council’s lack of involvement had kiboshed this year’s event.
Mat told us they still have that weekend free and would be delighted to take part again.
“We love it. It’s such a brilliant weekend,” he said. “There’s a real buzz in the city.”