Downtown Chambersburg is ready for the 14th annual IceFest. No need to get stuck in the throes of winter. Get out of the house and enjoy 80 ice sculptures, beginning Thursday, January 28 and running through Sunday, January 31. Live carving by DiMartino Ice is set for Thursday and Friday evening when the giant throne is transformed from clear blocks of ice into the coolest place to have a picture taken. It is an amazing transformation done with chain saws, drills, and blowers. Downtown Chambersburg glistens with beautifully lit ice sculptures. Twinkling lights fill the trees along the Main Street. It is magical.
Everything kicks off Thursday, January 28, at 5 PM on Memorial Square with an Opening Ceremony and the traditional IceFest Cake. Enjoy a piece of cakes and view live sculpture carving. Take a trip down the double-wide slide on South Main Street, open until 8 PM. Race a friend!
On Friday evening from 5 PM to 8 PM, carving of the giant sculptures continues, plus the double-wide ice slide is open again. The Snowfall Ball at Central Presbyterian is back for the 7th year, beginning with a dance lesson on the Cha Cha and Foxtrot at 5:30 PM, followed by open dance from 6 PM to 10 PM with a spotlight dance at 8:30 PM. Watch glass blowing by Glass Routes on North Main Street in the parking area near King Street Church, plus enjoy the glass blowing exhibition at the new location of Council for the Arts, 81 North Main Street.
Saturday starts with The All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast at the Trinity Episcopal Church on South Second Street, 8 AM-11 AM. At 10 AM, the Ice Slide and Glass Blowing get under way at 10 AM and both go on until 8 PM. Icing on the Cake, a cake-decorating contest with professional, amateur and student competitions begins at 10 AM and runs until 4 PM. This year’s theme is Super Heroes. Help select the People’s Choice by casting one-dollar votes. Winners announced at 4 PM. Then, everyone gets to eat the cakes.
ArtFest is a long-standing part of IceFest, and it has a new location for 2016 at 102 South Main. Artists share their time and talent in this annual fundraiser to benefit For the Kids of Chambersburg. A canvas is provided, and artists bring their own paints and easels. Space is limited to about 35 artists. It is a fantastic chance to see art come to life. Enjoy music by Joe Blues and ice carving by artist Danny Kissel. Artists begin painting at 8 AM, doors open at 9 AM, artists wrap up their work by 4 PM, and the auction begins at 4:30 PM.
At 11 AM is the centerpiece of Saturday–the Chili Cook-Off–in the large, heated tent just north of the square. Amateur and professionals face-off for the best chili. Watch out for Dr. Orange’s variety; it is so hot, it has a disclaimer. Plus, anyone attending the chili cook-off can enter the Hot Pepper Eating Contest for a chance to win $100. Voxology, a central Pennsylvania group, will play its custom Americana sounds during the chili cook-off. The Polar Dunk Plunge is noon on Courthouse Plaza, a chilly fundraiser to support Relay For Life and Leadership Franklin County. At 4:30 PM, slip back inside the big, heated tent for this year’s Frozen Flick —The Avengers. Admission is free. Coloring books and crayons are being collected for donation to Heroes for Little Heroes, an organization that takes toys to children in hospitals throughout the year. It is a great family activity.
The Chambersburg Heritage Center, located on the square in the 1915 marble bank building, is open Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM. It is a beautiful building and a good place to warm up while checking out Franklin County history. It offers a children’s activity room, walking tour brochures, information about the area, and admission is free.
The Foundry, on the corner of South Main and Queen Streets, is Chambersburg’s new art cooperative. For IceFest 2016, the Foundry is offering open studio time–no fees. Bring an art project and work in the studio during IceFest. It is open on Thursday and Friday from 2 PM to 8:30 PM, Saturday from 9 AM to 8:30 PM, and Sunday from noon to 7:30 PM. Live music on Friday is provided by Evan Crider and on Saturday by Tresa Paul. On exhibit is local artist Alex Swisher, and everyone is invited to participate in a coloring wall with artwork by Nashville artist Valentina Ramos.
Chambersburg’s downtown merchants are welcoming visitors with all types of specials. Duck inside the boutique shops of downtown, warm up, and shop a little. Many merchants have IceFest specials.
Food vendors are arranged around the square, and downtown has a number of restaurants–Molly’s Restaurant , Checkos, Texas Lunch, Cafe d’italia, Main Street Deli, and Bistro 71 to name a few. So, there is the chance to grab and go or sit down to relax and enjoy a meal.
Sunday is the final day of IceFest 2016. The ice slide on South Main and Kids Fun Zone in Chambers Fort Park, just off North Main, open at noon. The Kids Zone has lots of free fun for the kids, including a scavenger hunt, hockey skills demo, and even a little football fun. New this year is the “Run Your Ice Off” 5K. Fee is $25 and race begins at 1:30 PM at Fort Chambers Park.
Throughout IceFest, the Franklin County Old Jail is displaying the 2016 IceFest Art Contest. The theme is “The Hidden History of Franklin County.” The exhibit will be open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM and Sunday from 1 PM to 4 PM. The entry fee to the exhibit is $1, and all entry fees will be given as prize money to the first, second, and third place projects.
IceFest is a community event, bringing many organizations and civic groups together to create an experience with something for everyone. IceFest is guaranteed to be a great moment in Franklin County. It will shake loose those mid-winter blues.