There's ice on the ground in downtown Highland Park.
Nope, it's not snow. Ice sculptures popped up throughout the city Thursday to kick off Highland Park's first annual Ice Sculpture Walk, sponsored by The Downtown Highland Park Alliance and participating merchants.
"We want to give a reason for people to walk around the whole city, and try to do what no one else is doing in the other suburbs," said Stash's and 2nd Street Bistro owner Bobby Dubin, who helped organize the effort.
There are currently sculptures in front of stores like Uncle Dan's and Ross Cosmetics as well as the First Bank of Highland Park. There will be between 40 and 50 sculptures throughout the city for the kick-off event Dec. 8, according to Dubin.
"As you enter from every part of the city you're going to see these larger ice statues," Dubin said.
The inspiration for the event came after property owner Larry Hillman did something similar last winter when he placed ice sculptures on Central Avenue.
"Larry Hillman truly was the stimulus for this whole thing," Dubin explained. "He did the ice sculptures, now we just want to take it throughout the city."
Hillman is pleased to see so many local retailers participating, and praised them for deciding to pay for the sculptures.
"Its not easy to make those investments these days, so I am really, really happy to see so many join in," Hillman said.
The sculptures were done by a Chicagoland ice sculpture team led by Jim Nadeau. There will be a nighttime reception on Dec. 8 to celebrate the unveiling of the second installation of sculptures.
See photos of the first installation above.