FRANKENMUTH, MI--(Marketwire - January 17, 2011) - It doesn't seem possible that 20 years have gone by since Zehnder's Snowfest brightened the winter season in the Bavarian town of Frankenmuth, Mich. More than 80,000 visitors filled Main Street for the snow and ice festival in 1992. Over the remaining years Zehnder's estimates that close to 2 million visitors have travelled to see international snow and ice sculpture competitions, family friendly activities, or descend "Mt. Rushmore," the largest snow carving that was designed with a 300 yard winter slide in 1997.

"One of the highlights over our 20 year history was in 1995 when NBC TV's Willard Scott did a Today Show broadcast in front of an enormous snow sculpture and stayed a while for some hot chocolate and Bavarian treats," said Zehnder's Chairman and CEO Al Zehnder. Other event milestones included an Alaskan Glacier Ice display and an ice castle created from 500 blocks of ice. Mt. Rushmore took 300 hours to build and carve as a 300 foot wide by 50 foot high mountain of snow.

Plans for this year's Snowfest will include a 100 block ice sculpture depicting the 20th anniversary theme -- the Roaring 20s. Certified Master Ice Sculpture Greg Butausiki and his team will chip away at the 100 ice block all day Friday, January 28 to portray a Keystone Cops Paddy Wagon, a jail cell and other interactive carvings. Mid-Michigan's WNEM TV 5 will do live broadcasts from a desk of carved snow with the festival theme. Chilly news is just one of many features for the 20th anniversary year.

World class snow carving teams will create mega sculptures with each team beginning with a 2-ton snow block. The sculptures are always dazzling show stoppers with visitors watching the progress over a two-day period. Also scheduled are the U.S. National Collegiate Ice Carving Competition, State of Michigan Snow Sculpting competition, and a High School Snow Sculpture Contest to round out the outdoor gallery of ice and snow.

Young visitors can enjoy a petting zoo, inflatables, pony rides and an ice sculpted putt-putt golf course. The Warming Tent features plenty of hot and cold beverages and food plus nightly entertainment with live country, classic and Christian music shows. Snowfest kicks off January 26 with Michigan's Best Apple Pie and favorite recipe contests. Fireworks will sparkle over the festival at 6:45 PM on Saturday, January 29.

Stay an extra day to enjoy the 19th annual Chef's Hot Food Competition with a salute to Mardi Gras on Monday, January 31 at Zehnder's Restaurant. Sponsored by the American Culinary Federation Flint/Saginaw Valley, tickets are $30 for a spectacular taste feast from 6 PM to 8:30 PM.

"We're looking forward to a great 20th year celebration," said Zehnder. "Our snow caps go off to all of our employees, sponsors and the town of Frankenmuth for helping us make a memorable season for Pure Michigan winter fun." The Bavarian town of Frankenmuth, 90 miles north of Detroit, is one of the state's top tourist destinations with more than 3 million visitors each year.

For detailed information on Snowfest events go to Lodging packages are available at Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark located just one mile from downtown Frankenmuth and Snowfest activities. Zehnder's Restaurant will be open during the entire event with a special Dueling Pianos concert at a noon luncheon on January 27. Reservations are encouraged by calling 800-863-7999.

Contact Information:

John Shelton
800-863-7999 ext. 434