Bone-chilling cold returned to the area just in time for the first day of IceFest in downtown Chambersburg on Thursday night.
Following a brief ribbon cutting ceremony on the square, IceFest kicked off its four-day winter festival with live ice sculpture carving.
“This is just a wonderful event. It is a real jewel in the crown of the county as far as tourism ... it’s really gratifying that it’s become one of the main events of the year and that it brings so many folks to the county and offers so much to the residents of the county,” David S. Keller, chairman of the Franklin County Commissioners said following the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Ice chips flew into the air as ice sculptor Robert Higareda from DiMartino Ice Co. of Jeannette, Pa., masterfully shaved off unwanted pieces of ice from the “Throne” chair using a chain saw.
DiMartino carvers will continue shaping the remainder of the giant ice sculptures on Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“We love IceFest. We come every year to freeze,” Christy Bishop of Warfordsburg, Pa., said with a smile.
She and her daughters, Cara, 7, and Mina, 3, drove to Chambersburg to see the blocks of ice transform into ice masterpieces.
“We always miss when they carve. We’re very excited to see them actually carving them,” Bishop said.
“I like it a lot,” said Cara staring at Higareda shaving off the edges of the throne chair.
But, the 7-year-old did admit to being cold.
Getting cold is part of the experience, Bishop said.
While Nikki Pottorff of Hagerstown, her mother Cindy Pottorff of Waynesboro, Pa., and Nikki’s 5-year-old nephew Brayden huddled together for warmth, they couldn’t take their eyes off the ice that was taking shape before their eyes.
“I just think it’s neat the different carvings that they do and the things that they can do with the ice,” Pottorff said.
The trio planned to return on Saturday for the festivities and hoped it was a bit warmer this weekend.
IceFest sponsored by the Council for the Arts of Chambersburg, Downtown Business Council and
Downtown Chambersburg Inc. will continue today, Saturday and Sunday in downtown Chambersburg.
The event, now in its 11th year, is the second largest ice festival in the state second only to State College, Pa., according to Penny Shaul, IceFest committee chairwoman.
Over the four days of IceFest more than 10,000 people will attend the festival to see the 70 ice sculptures, she said.
The sculptures line Main Street from King to Washington streets — with the exception of two sculptures north of King Street, one near the Coyle Free Library and one in front of the Thrift Shop.
“People come because it’s kind of a different event, it’s free and it’s very family friendly,” Shaul said. “Also there truly is an event for everybody.”
Every year, the IceFest committee tries to add another event to make the winter festival bigger than the last year.
Shaul said Saturday’s Block Party is the new addition to the festival.
It will be held on Saturday under the Big Tent where the Chili Cook Off was held earlier in the day, Shaul said.
Co-sponsored by the Orchards Restaurant, the event will feature live music and beer.
“There is a cover charge, and you must be 21 to get into the tent,” she said
The mainstays of IceFest are still in place, like the Polar Dunk Plunge, the Ice Slide and the Chili Cook Off.
“We’ve continued with all the events that people love and added more,” Shaul said.
For more information about IceFest, log onto www.icefestpa.com