LAKE GENEVA -- Fifteen vehicles went through the ice and into the water in Lake Geneva on Saturday, February 6th, during the "Winterfest" weekend featuring the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition. The final vehicle was fished out of the water late on Saturday night.
The U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition is the marquee event during Lake Geneva's annual Winterfest weekend.
However, it wasn't the sculpting that was drawing all the attention on Saturday afternoon.
Creating a work of art from snow and ice takes a lot of talent.
"It`s amazing what they are able to do," Darien Schaefer, CEO and president of Visit Lake Geneva said.
Cracking through thin, melting ice is a matter of physics.
"I don`t know why anybody would park on the ice. I`m sorry. That`s not a nice thing to say," a woman near Lake Geneva on Sunday said.
Alderwoman Elizabeth Chappell didn't drive. She walked on Saturday afternoon.
"(I was) right here as it was happening," Chappell said.
Instead of the snow sculptures, attention was on the lake, because vehicles were in the water.
"I`ve never seen this massive amount of cars having trouble on the lake," Chappell said.
Lake Geneva police say 15 vehicles went into the water through the ice.
"I mean, (Saturday) and (Sunday) have been pretty warm temperature-wise," a woman near Lake Geneva on Sunday said.
One might figure if the snow sculptures were melting, the ice was too.
Maybe it was simply the convenience of parking on the ice that was so tempting for those who chose to do so.
Chappell says there was, and is, plenty of good parking on dry land.
"On large event weekends like this, the actual city of Geneva provides a free shuttle," Chappell said.
Chappell notes though, it is legal to park on the lake.
"It`s Wisconsin -- and part of Wisconsin is ice fishing, so we have access to our lakes," Schaefer said.
Winterfest is sponsored by Visit Lake Geneva.
"For Winterfest, we have lots of parking downtown and anybody can take advantage of it. It's free," Schaefer said.
A few of the vehicles that went through the ice simply got wet, while others were completely submerged.
"So thank goodness it wasn`t people it happened to," Chappell said.
There were no injuries -- but a lot of questions following this incident.
"Especially some of those nice, new cars -- why you would want to park it on the ice!?" a woman near Lake Geneva on Sunday said.
While it is legal to park on the ice, event officials say they don't recommend people do so -- especially after what happened on Saturday.