Vandals smash First Night ice sculptures

Some of the ice sculptures on Allen St. have been damaged or destroyed, such as this wishing well.
Some of the ice sculptures on Allen St. have been damaged or destroyed, such as this wishing well. CDT photo

Dozens of visitors who went downtown Thursday to see the ice sculptures along South Allen Street and at the entrance to some businesses got a dose of crushed ice instead.

State College police Lt. Mark Argiro said several ice sculptures from First Night State College were smashed overnight Wednesday and into early Thursday morning.

“We’re not sure how it happened, but several were destroyed,” Argiro said. “It’s been cold outside. It’s not like they’re melting, so it took a lot of force for someone to do. I can’t imagine there was anyone walking around with a bat last night and no one seeing them.”

Police are not investigating the situation, because no one reported the incidents, Argiro said.

They didn’t know how many ice sculptures were damaged, or the estimated cost of damage done.

“According to the officers last night, there were no calls about it so we don’t know,” Argiro said.

Ernie DiMartino, of DiMartino Ice, said ice sculptors start out with a 300-pound block of ice, draw the idea onto paper, put it onto a template that sticks to the ice, and then use power tools to carve it out.

Sculptures that were smashed included a wishing well and a large “2015” ice sculpture.

Argiro said the vandalism happens every year, but didn’t know what police were doing to prevent it in the future.

But it didn’t “dampen the spirit of New Year,” Argiro said.

Apartment management at The Allenway building at the corner of East Foster Avenue and South Allen Street said that after years of paying hundreds of dollars for the ice sculptures — only to be smashed the next morning — they opted out of getting one the last couple years.

Several police were on duty monitoring visitors.

“It’s been a busy day,” Argiro said. “Lots of people out there today.”

Marcia Renzo took her 5-year-old granddaughter Shelly Meyers downtown to admire the work of the artists.

They both said the hockey player sculpture adjacent to the borough building was their favorite.

“They’re so talented. We take tons of pictures and it’s a nice way to spend an afternoon,” Renzo said. “I guess they’d melt anyway, but it’s a shame some of them are ruined.”