The wonderful displays in downtown Goshen were bound to meet their end. That end arrived sooner than many observers would have liked, though, and the undoing was undeserved.
The annual Fire and Ice Festival took place this past weekend. The “Fire” — in part a chili cook-off — provided lucky diners a tasty treat, but the “Ice” offered the visual spectacle. Sculptors with the Michiana Ice Carvers Association crafted stunning, albeit temporary, works of art in the Maple City.
Visitors thronged the downtown during the monthly First Fridays event to watch the ice sculptures take form. Those sculptures would have been around at least a little while before time and temperature took their toll. It would have been nice to look at them a bit longer.
That didn’t happen.
Someone, or perhaps a group of like-minded individuals, decided the best thing to do with the ice sculptures was to destroy them. Goshen News photographer Sam Householder recorded part of the damage, and a picture appeared on Page 1 of Wednesday’s newspaper. We much prefer Sam’s shots of the sculptures being created. Perhaps we’re biased.
First Fridays organizers are offering a $500 reward for information about the vandalism. Considering sponsors put up $2,600 for ice sculptures, it’s a price worth paying.
There are worse crimes being committed in the Goshen area than the vandalism spree last weekend. A brief review of the police and court news in these pages bears this out. Still, the damage has had an impact, perhaps long-term.
Sponsors can be forgiven for thinking twice about paying for a sculpture next time around. It’s a lot of money for something that has a short shelf (sidewalk?) life due to vandalism.
There’s also an emotional effect. The vandalism spree just plain saddened and angered the downtown community. Something positive — a First Fridays event that livened up a winter weekend and made people happy — was turned into a negative.
We know the sculpture destruction doesn’t represent what Goshen is about, by and large. Still, it’s indicative of what a few people are capable of and what can happen in this community. And that’s too bad.