Along with cutting down your own Christmas tree and choosing a festive wreath at a local farm stand, Sherwood House Vineyards in Jamesport might have created a new North Fork Christmas ritual.
For the second year, record-holding ice sculptor Rich Daly visited the vineyard and wowed onlookers by transforming two shapeless blocks of ice into a holiday scene.
“We love it,” exclaimed Eileen Maurow of Harrison, NY, in town visiting her friend Patti Mallinson’s second home in Jamesport. “I think it’s a new holiday tradition.”
Dozens of spectators braved chilly outdoor conditions to watch Daly, a professional ice carver from Mastic Beach, cut 1,500 pounds of ice into the image of Santa’s sleigh complete with a free-standing reindeer — a feat that took more than two hours to complete.
“The biggest part is building the sleigh,” Daly said. “That’s 1,200 pounds alone.”
Spectators were invited to pose in the sleigh and many did, cheesing for the camera with a glass of vino in hand.
“We kinda like the swirl part,” said Kalea Tepedino, 6, of East Moriches as she pointed to the the curve of Santa’s sleigh.
Daly, a culinary arts teacher at William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, has been carving ice sculptures for the past 13 years. He learned the skill while studying culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University and runs his own business, Ice Melodies, Inc.
Last year, Daly earned the distinction of “Fastest Time to Carve 60 Ice Sculptures” from the Guinness Book of World Records, a record previously set in 2002 by Richard Bubin, a fellow American.
The heat of a blow torch adds the final touch, removing any slush and smoothing the sculpture’s surface.
See more photos from the event below.