Free hot chocolate, roasted marshmallows and ice carving were among the draws at the Port Jefferson Ice Festival. NewsdayTV's Drew Scott reports. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez

Three large blocks of ice, weighing 900 pounds combined, remained hidden under a blue blanket Saturday morning at the start of Port Jefferson’s fifth annual Ice Festival.

As a crowd began to encircle the ice awaiting the start of a live carving by ice sculptor Rich Daly, some wondered just what kind of object would be revealed. One youngster guessed a cake.

Soon after, Daly, 43, fired up his chain saw and, with the ease of a knife through butter, sliced the blocks of ice into his latest work of art: an anchor.

He needed just 20 minutes.

The first of three live ice carvings was one of several highlights on the first day of the weekend festival designed to draw people in a family-friendly atmosphere to the waterfront village during the typically slower time of year.

Many in the crowd sipped on free hot chocolate or enjoyed fresh popcorn as they watched Daly perform. Some children close to the action could feel the spray of snow from Daly’s chain saw.

“Since the weather has not been in our favor for snow, I’m the snowman,” Daly said. “I’m the snowmaker, so the kids are pretty excited about it and it’s always cute.”

Jen Andersen, 41, of Islip Terrace, who was with her two daughters and their friend, filmed Daly on her phone using the time-lapse feature to share later on social media.

Daly and his team at Ice Memories Inc. in Mastic Beach set up two dozen sculptures throughout the village. Saturday’s final ice carving turned blocks into King Kong.

Two of the popular photo ops were the Barbie and Spider-Man sculptures, which were accompanied by live characters who posed for photos.

Daly said it took about three weeks to prepare for what he said is the biggest ice festival on Long Island. The Port Jefferson Business Improvement District sponsors the festival and each sculpture has its own individual sponsor.

Daly said the sponsors requested Spider-Man and Barbie and for them to be “larger than life.” It was his first time creating those specific sculptures, he said.

“Each of those sculptures started at 3,000 pounds,” he said.

Faith Baker, 44, of Holbrook, celebrated a "milestone" moment at the Spider-Man sculpture. She was with her mom, son and two nieces, one of whom is autistic. The soon-to-be 5-year-old girl braved standing alongside the character, Baker said.

“She usually doesn’t interact with anybody, so it was really cool to see,” she said.

In a nearby parking lot, Rory Damico, 18, who works for the seafood restaurant The Steam Room, loaded long sticks with marshmallows for guests to roast on a bonfire. In her first hour, the demand for marshmallows was “nonstop,” she said.

Melissa Brunner, 28, of Port Jefferson, said it was her first time attending the festival even though she’s lived in town for five years.

“It’s a really good community event and it’s good for all ages,” she said.

Her 4-year-old son, Logan, played a unique variation of "his favorite game," cornhole. Players threw bags onto frozen boards of water.

The festival was supposed to continue on Sunday, but inclement weather postponed it until Feb. 4.

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