Time to get over those "winter blues" and get out this winter and have some fun.  And, one of the best places to have that fun is Rockford.

The Rockford Chamber of Commerce is hosting their 4th Annual Rockford Ice Festival, Friday, Feb. 8 through Sunday, Feb. 10, with ice sculptures on display in downtown Rockford that Saturday and Sunday. This year’s theme is Fire and Ice and organizers are certainly utilizing both ends of the temperature spectrum.

This year’s festival includes live carving demonstrations – get the picture of power saws and drills – ice sculptures, a mini playable ice golf course, a scavenger hunt, photo contest, melt date contest and a snowman building contest. New additions to this year’s schedule are a Fire and Ice Chili Cook Off and Sweetheart Splash. Each year the festival has grown, with more than 10,000 coming to Rockford last year to celebrate the event.

Also, be sure to look for “Hot Spots” downtown. These special merchants are offering free, yes, free, “hot” items for you and your family. The items include hand warmers, red hot cinnamon candies, ice festival knit hats and other goodies to keep you warm. The merchants will also be offering “hot” deals for shoppers. Stores will be open on Saturday and Sunday.

New to the event, but not to Rockford, is Rockford Rotary’s Sweetheart Splash. It is a sure-fire way for families to have fun as people prove their love by jumping into the icy Rogue.”

The Rockford Arts Commission’s Ice Festival Snow Ball kicks off the event on Feb. 8 at Thousand Oaks Golf Club. This wonderful dance features a live band, entertainment and delicious food – the perfect Valentine’s date. Go to www.artsrockford.com for more information and reservations for the ball.

The ice sculptures – carved by nationally famous Randy Finch and his crew from Ice Gurus Unlimited - will be on display Saturday and Sunday. You will see plenty of beautiful sculptures with new designs. The active mini-golf course will also feature beautiful ice displays and is one of the highlights for families. A crowd favorite, the live ice carvings will take place on both Saturday and Sunday. The carvings will take place at Reds on the River, Corner Bar, Herman’s Boy, and near the Rockford Rotary Pavilion.

There will be  brochures throughout downtown with a schedule of events, or you can go to www.rockfordicefestival.com for complete information.