On the first night of Chanukah, Chabad of Plano & Collin County and the local community gathered together at the Shops of Willow Bend to join in a worldwide celebration of the beginning of Chanukah with a Celebration of Lights. 

At the outdoor Chanukah Fire ‘n Ice event, local celebrators came out to observe the building and lighting of a five-foot ice menorah, which was sculpted onsite by Chef Pete, a chef and ice sculptor with more than 20 years of experience in the DFW area. 

He began his work at 5 p.m., while visitors enjoyed live Chanukah music, and Rabbi Menachem Block of Chabad of Plano & Collin County spoke. Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and Police Chief Ed Drain were both in attendance. It took an hour to construct the beautiful ice menorah, and at 6 p.m., the menorah was lit, followed by a fire show with acrobatics, eating and dancing with fire. Everyone left with a Chanukah story book, chocolate gelt, and a dreidel. 

“The flames of the menorah shine out into the night, reminding us that even when confronted with much darkness, a tiny light can dispel it all,” Rabbi Block said.

Chef pete sculpting ice | courtesy of chabad of plano / facebook

Chabad of Plano has been lighting the menorah in the Plano community for the past 27 years. The tradition of the Fire ‘n Ice event is part of the worldwide celebration of Chanukah. It highlights the central theme of the holiday, the story of the Chanukah miracle, and the victory of light over darkness.

Chabad of Plano says that this year, the message of hope is especially necessary today, amidst the darkness of the pandemic. 

They also report that this year’s global campaign reached eight million people of Jewish faith in more than 100 countries. Around 15,000 large public menorahs were lit in public squares in celebration, including in front of landmarks such as the White House, the Eiffel Tower, and the Kremlin.

“Another act of goodness and kindness, another act of light can make all the difference,” Rabbi Block said.

Chef pete finishing the sculpture | courtesy of chabad plano / facebook

There will be other Chanukah celebrations in Frisco and Rockwall on Dec. 13, and Allen on Dec. 14. For more information about Chanukah and a local schedule of events visit ChabadPlano.org.