By Nona Tepper
When the Chicago Bears made the playoffs for the first time since 2010, fans celebrated, but none quite like Nadeau's Ice Sculptures in Forest Park, which partnered with the football team to install four, approximately 3,600-pound sculptures around Chicago on Jan. 4. The sculptures were inscribed, "Monsters of the Midway" or "Da Bears," included a "Bear Down" emoji, and a bear's head.
High temperatures — Saturday reached the mid-50s with sun — nearly destroyed the four colossal ice sculptures by the time the Bears hit the field on Jan. 6, where they faced the Philadelphia Eagles. (No need to recall the final score).
"The benefit of the warm weather is millions of people were out; they got to see it instead of driving by in the car. They were thrilled," said Jim Nadeau, owner of Nadeau's Ice Sculptures.
He said the Bears called about creating the sculptures once they found out they were going to compete in the playoffs, leaving the ice-carving firm about four days to design and carve the pieces.
"It was a really herculean effort to pull that off in four days. New Year's is the busiest day of the year. It's been a hell of a week," he said.
In addition to simply creating the sculptures, Nadeau also had to work with the city of Chicago to get approval to install the ice sculptures on "hallowed grounds," near Wrigley Field, Union Station, Pioneer Court and Millennium Park, he said.
"We got up at 4 a.m. to set up, and they approved it that morning. That's how tight getting the sculptures done between the playoffs and New Year's was," Nadeau said.
This is not the first time the ice house has put the Chicago Bears on ice. Nadeau's creates ice carvings for all their home games, designing crashing helmets for the pre-game brunch. Nadeau's work has also been featured at the iconic "Zoo Lights" at Lincoln Park Zoo every year, birthday parties for billionaire Sam Zell, after-parties for the Chicago Blackhawks, and much more.
"We do all the sports teams in Chicago. For a little building on Roosevelt Road in Forest Park, we really do some interesting stuff," Nadeau said.