2018 Ice Fest | Chambersburg, PA
Can you believe the unseasonably warm weather we have had this winter?! Just one week ago, we were enjoying 64 degrees in the middle of January! However, I, for one, am thrilled to have the colder winter temps return just in time for the 16th Annual Ice Fest in downtown Chambersburg, Pennsylvania this weekend!
The first Ice Fest was held in 2002 with 20 carved ice sculptures. Over the years, as the event has grown, it is now featuring 30 tons of ice and over 80+ sculptures!
This is an exciting (free) event for the whole family. Pull out your hat and gloves again and celebrate winter with Jack Frost!
Ice Fest '18 runs from January 25th - January 28th. On the first two nights of the festival, you can catch a live carving from the expert carvers of DiMartino Ice Sculpting.
Last night, we braved the cold for opening night. We were able to see the first ever live carve-off competition, with the soundtrack of Disney's Frozen playing in the background ;) Local carver, Danny Kissel, faced off against one of the DiMartino Ice Company carvers. They had just 30 minutes to carve a single-block of ice into a fantastic creation!
Here is a short video of the sculptors in action...
At the end of the 30 minutes, the carvings looked like this. All of the sculptors were amazingly talented!
In addition to the Ice, there are also a number of events throughout the weekend, including:
Snow "Ball" - Friday night
Chilli Cook-Off ($5 to enter the tent) - Saturday
Double-wide Ice Slide (free to slide) - All Weekend
Cake Ice-ing Contest - Saturday
Polar Dunk Plunge tank (proceeds go to charity) - Saturday
Screening of Cassablanca at the Capitol Theatre = Saturday
Scavenger Hunt for the kids. Pick up the scavenger hunt forms at the Heritage Center (chambersburg.org/heritagecenter) - All Weekend
Run Your Ice Off 5K - Sunday
You can find the full schedule of events here.
We had a great time! We really enjoyed catching a glimpse of the live carvings! There will be a total of 11 Giant sculptures scattered throughout downtown this year. The sculptors began carving these giant blocks of ice live in action on Thursday and will finish up on Friday. If you attend on Saturday or Sunday, the Giants should all be completed. I am tempted to return again later this weekend to see the other Giant carvings that hadn't been started yet!
The event is marvelous. Downtown Chambersburg is a charming little city. Main Street was lined with carved sculptures and twinkling lit trees. You can find fair-themed street vendors selling funnel cakes, kettle corn, french fries, etc.. Many local businesses participate in Ice Fest by staying open late. Some even sponsor giveaways like hot chocolate and popcorn. The Toy Box is giving out $5 gift certificates to anyone who visits them this weekend (to be redeemed at a later date)!
Side note - We had a FABULOUS dinner at Bistro 71! Get the pork chop!
DiMartino Ice Company brings the smaller sculptures already carved on opening day. They line Main Street and some of the side streets, too. They are spectacular! I had too many favorites to choose from!
The kiddos loved posing with the sculptures! There were even some cute ones for the kids to put their faces in - somehow I managed to squeeze into this rocket! The gnome was too low to the ground. LOL
The 40 foot double slide was a big favorite with both children and adults!
The expressive sculptures were all sponsored by the local businesses. A special thanks for M&T Bank as the main sponsor.
Getting there on opening day, we were able to watch the the Giant sculptures transform. It's so impressive how they were able to carve these works of art within a matter of hours!
The sculptors use a combination of chainsaws and hand tools to carve.
Each block of ice weighs 265 lbs
It takes the sculptors approximately one hour to carve each block
The double wide slide was created from 78-80 blocks of ice, measuring 40 feet long
According to the Ice Fest website, more than 15,000 people visit this event each year. The streets were crowded on Thursday night, but there was plenty of parking in the city. On Saturday and Sunday, Main Street will be closed to traffic to accommodate the large crowds.
We had a great time and would definitely return again in future years.
Have a great weekend!