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When the big Minnesota Winter ice bar event happens in Downtown Rochester, it's snowy, icy, super cold...except for the times it's warm and meltly. And this is one of those times. Normally, it would start Wednesday the 3rd, but it's too warm, so the Pandemic Styled SocialICE, called Improv-ICE, announced some date improvising. This year the event will run February 6 - 14.

Monika Kopet, Rochester Downtown Alliance director of events was on KROC-AM 1340 and 96.9 FM's Rochester Today today to describe how the event will be different (no bars!), and said it was super likely there'd be a delay in the ice sculpture presentation because of the sun... (If you can't hear it, scroll down for the automatic transcription).

And that has come to pass.

NWS - Lacrosse Forecast 02-01
NWS - Lacrosse Forecast 02-01

“Above freezing temperatures Wednesday, February 3 and Thursday, February 4 may feel good to us but are not favorable for keeping our ice sculptures from melting...That’s why we are improvising—in true Improv-ICE fashion—and starting the winter experience Saturday, February 6 evening when conditions are ideal.”

It'll be worth the wait as they'll be lit, there will be recorded music each night, thru Friday the 14th (weather permitting)! That's way more time than we usually get to enjoy the community's ice sculptures!

What'll you see?

The public will be able to view the Improv-ICE partner ice sculptures, community sculpture, Wall of ICE, and Together Community Portrait, beginning February 6 and ending February 14.

The Improv-ICE Photo Contest

Love to take photos/videos? Take pictures or videos of the ice sculptures, ice curtain, or Together letters for a chance to win one of six $25 gift cards to a downtown business.

  • Record a short video or snap a photo of how you Improv-ICEd this past year.
  • It can be serious, funny, silly, dramatic...whatever you wish!
  • Post it to social media using #ImprovICE. (Must be public to view and reshare.)
  • Or submit it here. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SDHMKPV
  • And boom, you're entered.
  • Find more details on the Improv-ICE photo contest here.


The Improv-ICE Buy a Meal, Give a Meal Campaign - February 6 thru 13, when you eat at a restaurant, get food to go, buy a gift card, etc. at participating bars and restaurants (see list below), Channel One Regional Food Bank will receive a donated meal.

  • Auntie Anne's Pretzel
  • Benedict's Rochester
  • Bleu Duck Kitchen
  • Cameo Restaurant
  • Café Steam
  • Chester's Kitchen & Bar
  • Cinnabon
  • City Market
  • Hefe Rojo
  • Nellie's on 3rd
  • Newt's Downtown
  • Olde Brick House
  • Pasquale's Neighborhood Pizzeria
  • Pescara
  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop
  • Redwood Room
  • Tap House
  • Terza Ristorante
  • Victoria's Ristorante and Wine Bar

Want to know more about Improv-ICE (the improvised version of SocialICE)? Just tippity-tip tap here.

Photos from Social Ice 2020!

Monika Kopet, Rochester Downtown Alliance director of events was on KROC-AM 1340 and 96.9 FM's Rochester Today AUTOMATIC TRANSCRPTION, if you find errors, please excuse them. Small staff. 

James Rabe (00:00):
...and this is Monica from the RDA. Monica. I understand that things are just a little bit different this year for social life.

Monika Kopet (00:07):
Yes, we will not have the typical ice bars of the stage and the DJ and all that good stuff. We're trying to keep it safe for everybody. So it's going to be more of a passive, just beautiful walk through experience with ice sculptures. That'll be lit up and there'll be prerecorded music in the evening, and it's going to be so much fun.

James Rabe (00:25):
Is it okay if I go through and just yell, "I can't hear you!!!!"

Monika Kopet (00:32):
Sure you do. Whatever makes you happy. So we do have a photo contest. Um, if you take pictures with the community sculpture, the ice wall curtain, that together letters, you're going to follow downtown Rochester, Minnesota on our social accounts, Napa picture. You're going to post it on social media, take us, use our hashtag improvise. Um, and then you are eligible to win. We're going to have gift cards that we're going to give away to downtown businesses.

James Rabe (00:59):
I know that there were some timeline issues because the weather's forecast is way too nice.

Monika Kopet (01:06):
Yeah. Yeah. So whether, you know, we want to say, Ooh, it's going to be nice, not the maze to keep her sculptures intact. So I have to be a little vague on it right now. I am waiting for final confirmation from our lead sculpture, but it does sound like we will be delayed by a few days. Kind of the debut of everything being completed will probably not be until Saturday. Still carve out some time for them. Yeah. Yeah. Good fun.

Curt St. John (01:34):
Well, who actually came up with improvise because that is brilliant.

Monika Kopet (01:39):
Well, we always brainstorm as a team, but I will give credit to Katie, our director of content communications. She's quite a wordsmith. And she, I think is officially the one that came up with that.

James Rabe (01:51):
She's Ortonville's proudest daughter.

Monika Kopet (01:53):
Yeah, she's amazing.

Curt St. John (01:55):
Well, the nice thing about it, if you do have to push it back by a couple of days, I mean, while it's supposed to be blindingly cold this weekend.

Monika Kopet (02:02):
Right, right. Okay. We just extended two more days and that's great. You know, it doesn't, it shouldn't really affect things as, as opposed to, you know, maybe in previous years when oops, now we've got to reschedule the big event and the DJs and everything. So this year, it actually probably is the easiest to take care of that. It's actually all going to work out. I think perfectly. Um, if, if we can go ahead with the new plan, I think we're going to have it through, uh, Valentine's day weekend, Sunday, the 14th, which I think will be amazing for couples to come down and take pictures. Um, yeah. Everything after Thursday, it's going to be pretty freezing and it's going to be perfect for sculpture. So I think we'll just extend it. So, yep.

(credit Alpha Digital)
(credit Alpha Digital)

James Rabe (02:39):
I've seen the kids down there at night, but a family time on Saturday. And so even if it's freezing, we know how to wrap up.

Monika Kopet (02:47):
We're Hardy Midwesterners, this isn't the hardest thing we've had to deal with.

James Rabe (02:52):
Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And as long as I have you on the phone, since you are the director of events, what stuff do you have coming up that I know for

Monika Kopet  (03:00):
Sure, as long as we can get partnerships to support them in may and June, we plan to do sidewalks sessions. Again, we did that last summer when we couldn't do crowd friendly events, it was basically acoustic performers in various parts of downtown 12 to one every day, Monday through Friday had some really amazing local talent. So we really want to do that again in may and June, I'm also planning to have fitness classes, Tuesday and Thursday, evenings, and may and June. Um, it's going to be a mix of some of our stakeholders, pure bar, but we're also hoping to have some belly dancing classes, some Bollywood, some yoga, we're going to see what we can get in there.

James Rabe (03:37):
You know, and I, I think this year, um, I loved being downtown when you had the performers outside, like the city hall, old city hall. And I think this year, because things are getting better, there'll be more people that will be able to hear and see them and really does. It feels like a very active city then.

Monika Kopet (03:56):
Yeah. It's, it's amazing. I met so many of our local artists in the community who hadn't performed in six months and they were just so happy to have the opportunity. And I think it lifts everyone's spirits being downtown. Um, once we can be out on those patios again and hear that music, it's just going to be wonderful. That's what I'm looking forward to. So we're just so excited to be able to do anything for the community right now, when we're all cooped up and have nothing to do and nothing to look forward to. I feel like. So we're just excited for everybody to come down and see it.

James Rabe (04:25):
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time today. This is James Ray B Kurt St. John, uh, along with, uh, Monica from the Rochester downtown Alliance. Thank you so much for your time today. It is 1152 K R O C a M 1340 and 96 nine FM.

As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know: james.rabe@townsquaremedia.com

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