70 ice sculptures plus art exhibits, contests, food and so much more take over downtown Chambersburg Jan. 29 to Feb. 1
CHAMBERSBURG >> Chambersburg’s annual IceFest was an immediate hit when it was born out of an effort to fight the winter doldrums in 2002, and has grown bigger and better every year since.
This year is no exception.
The seasonal celebration, which starts on Jan. 29 and continues through Feb. 1, will feature all the frigid fun of winters past, plus so much more.
“It’s grown into quite a large event,” said chair Penny Shaul.
Returning this year is the popular Snowfall Ball, a social dance held at Central Presbyterian Church, 40 Lincoln Way West. On opening night from 6-10 p.m., attendees can meet their neighbors, make new friends and learn both traditional and modern dances from expert instructor Frank Hancock of Hancock Dance.
Heating things up once again this season is the eagerly anticipated chili cook off, held beneath the tent on North Main Street 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. For a $5 fee, guests can taste from among 15 different chili concoctions made by both amateurs and professionals.
And, of course, no IceFest would be complete without the ice sculptures made by Ernie DiMartino and his team at DiMartino Ice. This year DiMartino and his helpers will carve their way through 10 tons of the cold cubes to make 70 sculptures and a double-wide ice slide, which takes a total of 3.3 tons of ice to create.
This festival highlight is great for photo opportunities and takes a dozen men a total of six hours to create, according to DiMartino.
“Since the event has grown to the size it has, I have had to bring on more sculptors to do the work,” said DiMartino, who collaborates with businesses and carvers to come up with the eye-catching pieces. “We try to satisfy the sponsor with a design that will appeal to both them, as well as the spectators,” said DiMartino.
His team uses tools like chains saws, disc sanders and die grinders to create the 3-D works of art.
History fans will be happy to hear that the Franklin County Historical Society is participating in IceFest with a Downton Abbey-inspired exhibit.
“It’s called ‘Downton Abbey, American Style,’ and reveals the stories of men and women who made America from 1912 through 1920,” said Shaul.
Penn’s Woods Printmakers will bring an exhibit of “Prints & Drawings,” to 1 North Main Street (formerly Tito’s Restaurant). The exhibition will show printmaking processes and techniques, with subject matter ranging from landscapes to figures, abstractions and still life.
The Boys & Girls Club of Chambersburg will also be on hand showcasing their artistic talent, with works for sale to benefit the organization.
Returning again to the Courthouse Plaza is the Polar Bear Plunge where, for a price, patrons can dunk hardy volunteers with a well-aimed pitch. This year’s proceeds benefit Leadership Franklin County and Chambersburg Relay for Life.
Are you a baker, or a fan of shows like Cake Boss? If so, you won’t want to miss the delightful creations at this year’s “Icing on the Cake” event where contestants will create a cake based on their favorite television sitcom or reality show.
After the judging at the Capitol Woods Center, guests can indulge in free cake from 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Two new activities are being offered this year as part of the event that continues to grow.
“Frozen Flicks” will include two movies which will be shown for free under the big tent on North Main. Guests can enjoy the prancing penguins of “Happy Feet 2” at 4:30 p.m. and the kid-friendly “Guardians of the Galaxy” at 7 p.m. Admission is free and treats are reasonably priced at $1 apiece.
A Fun Run at 1 p.m. Feb. 1, will start at Chambers Fort Park and will continue for a mile, with registration starting at noon. The park will also be the site of the Fun Zone, where kids will have the opportunity to take part in games and activities from noon to 2 p.m.
To learn more about these events designed to blast the winter blahs, be sure to visit the website atwww.icefestpa.com.
Check out these other IceFest events: