Wood Wharf's three-day Ice Sculpting Festival begins

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International kings and queens of the ice will descend on Wood Wharf today, putting their sculpting skills to the test in a battle for the 2013 crown.

The London Ice Sculpting Festival will return to Canary Wharf for its fourth consecutive year, attracting talented teams of carvers from across the globe who will compete in the doubles, singles and freestyle competitions.

Visitors will have the chance to see the sculptors translate themes of The Wonders of the Universe and Infinity into a physical object, during all three days of the event.

Competitors in the doubles competition will be tasked with forming their creation from a block of ice measuring two metres while those in the singles challenge will have to speedily carve their sculpture from a one metre slab in just two and a half hours.

This year, the free festival will also offer all 24 sculptors a little artistic freedom and the opportunity to wow the crowds with their unique designs in a freestyle challenge determined by the public vote.

For those keen to try their hand at carving, experts from The Ice Box will host an array of master classes throughout Wood Wharf and Canary Wharf's shopping malls, while the absence of a white Christmas this year will be more than made up for with a huge snowpit.

New attractions include a graffiti wall and an oversized outdoor Ice Chess game and a winter market, face painting and live performances are set to provide fun for all the family.

And for those eager to feel the ice beneath their feet and not their fingers, Ice Rink Canary Wharf will be hosting its last skating sessions in Canada Square Park.

The ice-cold proceedings will be rounded off with a spectacular Northern Lights laser show at Wood Wharf on Sunday afternoon.

Go to londonicesculptingfestival.co.uk or canarywharf.com for a timetable of events.

>Festival opening times January 11, 11am to 7pm, January 12, 10am to 6pm, January 13, 11am to 6pm.

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