Iceworld in Rock Tavern

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:56

    ROCK TAVERN-t's amazing what you can do with a block of ice and a chainsaw. You can create a crystalline wonderland, enticing people outdoors during peak cabin fever season. Visitors at last weekend's Winter Ice Festival could sit on a throne of ice, climb inside a cozy igloo, or swoosh down a sledding path. Or, as temperatures last weekend soared into the 50s, they could watch an occasional drip of water slide down an ice penguin's beak. Ice sculptor Earl Covington shared his talent at the festival, held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rock Tavern. Covington lives in Highland Mills and is a member of the congregation. He began ice sculpting while working as a chef at an impressive list of restaurants, including the Helmsley Palace, the Ritz-Carlton, and the Four Seasons. Many of his "clients" last weekend were kids. His 10- and 12-year-old daughters tested the popular sledding path he created. For a quieter experience, some climbed into the igloo or sat on the throne between two majestic bears. Covington gave a demonstration, turning blocks of ice into penguins and seals. Wendy and John Serringer of Monroe brought their two sets of twins: Chris, Kevin, Shawn and Michael. Two are 15 months old, and two will be five in April. Covington placed second at the World Ice Sculpting Competition in Alaska in 1997 and won a People's Choice Award in 2003. This March he will go to Alaska to try out for the 2006 Olympics. Covington's business, Ice Art Inc., has been operating for 15 years. Anyone can buy his work; images can be seen at A portion of last weekend's proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity of Newburgh, which is planning its sixth annual Walk for Housing on Sunday, May 1. The organization helps build houses for those in need, and has been affiliated with Habitat for Humanity International since 1999. A wish list for volunteers and supplies can be found at Construction skills are not necessary — everyone can help in some way. For more information about Habitat, call 568-6035.