ROSWELL, Ga. — A giant Tyrannosaurus Rex was recently sighted at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, but fortunately it was frozen. In fact, it was made of ice, and carved by the Atlanta Ice Marvels, who were practicing their ice carving skills at Ice Fest 2014.
The festival was in support of the Children’s Charities project to raise funds for an autism detection unit. The state-of-the-art machine, developed by the Marcus Autism Center, can detect autism in children as young as 2 months by tracking eye movements.
“In the United States today, one out of 88 children will be diagnosed with autism,” said Mandy White, co-founder of Children’s Charities.
“This unit can detect autism in children as young as 2 months old,” said White, “And if you can get a kid into therapy [that early], the difference it’s going to make in that child’s life. It’s a huge breakthrough.”
The machine is to be housed in the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Forsyth Urgent Care Center.
Ice Fest featured inflatables, s’mores and ice carving demonstrations by the Atlanta Ice Marvels. Additionally, the Chattahoochee Nature Center put on wildlife demonstrations with snakes, hawks and eagles.
There was also an ice carving competition with local culinary schools participating. The Chattahoochee Technical College team was the winner with their sculpture.
The Atlanta Ice Marvels were carving their practice piece — a T-Rex and frightened child — for the World Ice Art Championships in Alaska in February. The Ice Marvels placed fifth in the 2012 World Championships, making them the top ice carving team in the U.S.
Later in the evening, a dinner reception was held, with catering by Milton’s Cuisine and live music by the Steven Lee Band. This was followed by the lighting of a 10-foot ice torch, which closed out the night. About 200 people attended the reception.
Children’s Charities will be hosting another event to raise funds for the autism detection unit on April 26. Called “Denim and Diamonds,” the event will be a chef’s competition between 10 chefs from around the area.