GOSHEN — The wintry weather times perfectly with a two-day event that kicked off in Goshen Friday. The Fire and Ice Festival is designed to promote the downtown area of Goshen. It's part of a continuing effort by the city to increase the foot traffic for local stores. The event centers on carvers making ice sculptures in the downtown business district. 50 different businesses have sponsored 50 blocks of ice. All will be carved near storefronts by members of the Michiana Ice Carvers Association. The public is invited to take a look at the sculptures. While there, it’s hoped visitors will go into local shops, restaurants and specialty stores. “We have a lot to offer and as more people realize that, and just, you know spending money in the local stores, helps the local economy,” said Grace Hunsberger, director of First Fridays. “That’s one of the drives of having these events downtown. First Fridays is an event that started in June of 2007 that is aimed to bring people into the downtown Goshen area. This event is similar to one held during the holiday season called “Shop outside the Box.” It encouraged people to shop locally during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Merchants say events like this are paying off dividends for the downtown, resulting in more foot traffic, sales and business growth. “One of the big questions I get from people all the time is how is that your little downtown hasn’t dried up like so many and you know I have to tell them, we have to attribute it to the community effort, things like First Friday.” said Lauren Hodges of Accents Framing & Gifts. “What is really nice is that the local public, the local people…they want to see small businesses, family businesses, you know, succeed,” said Dustin Mattern of Mattern’s Butcher Shop-Deli. “They see the benefit of that for themselves and their families well, because they’re preserving the history of the city.” The fire portion of the event comes from a chili cook-off tomorrow involving nine restaurants.