Sapporo, 7 February 2024 – Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaibool, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), has congratulated the Thai ice sculpting team for being named the 1st runner-up for their rendition of “Naga Fireballs” at the 48th International Snow Sculpture Contest, which concludes today.
The ice figurine of Naga Fire phenomenon showcases a portion of Thai mythology and deep culture as well as artistic talent that form part of the TAT’s ongoing promotion of Thai soft powers and meaningful travel experiences in Thailand.
The International Snow Sculpture Contest, part of the 74th Sapporo Snow Festival, has returned for the first time this year, after three years of hiatus due to the pandemic. The competition saw nine participating teams, from USA (Hawaii and Portland), Indonesia, Poland, Singapore, Lithuania, Mongolia, South Korea, and Thailand.
This year, TAT has sent a team of veteran Thai ice sculptors, Kusol Bunkobsongserm, Amnoaysak Srisuk, and Kritsana Wongtes, who have entered the competition multiple times.
The team leveraged Thai mythology, beliefs and deep culture in their rendition of “The Naga Fireballs,” a 3m wide, 3m high and 3m in depth snow sculpture. It is created under the concept that the ‘Naga Fire phenomenon’ is the natural event based on religious beliefs when hundreds of fireballs rise out of Mekong River into the sky before disappearing. Locals believe that Naga, a sacred serpent of water and abundant, shoots the fireballs as offerings to Buddha.
This year marks Thailand 24th participation in the competition since 1991. In the last 23 entries, teams from Thailand have won the competition nine times, including twice three-consecutive-year winning in 2008-2010 and again in 2018-2020. The other three winning years were 2000 (first win for Thailand), 2013 and 2015.
The 74th Sapporo Snow Festival will be held until 11 February 2024 at three venues – Odori (main site), Susukino and Tsudome.