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Chambersburg hopes to host ice festival this winter

September 27, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Some Chambersburg business officials are hoping it gets cold this winter. Really cold.

"I'm hoping it's close to zero degrees," said Paul Cullinane, executive director of Downtown Chambersburg Inc.

That's because Downtown Chambersburg and the Chambersburg Area Council for the Arts are planning an ice festival for the last few days of January, and frigid temperatures are a must.

While the groups are still hammering out the details, they plan to line Main Street from Memorial Square to West Washington Street with 14 ice sculptures during a four-day period at the end of January and into February, Cullinane said.

"Anything your imagination can conjure up, they can do in ice," he said. "They are incredible."

The groups are working with the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in State College, Pa., to pull off the event. They expect some of the dozen 3-foot ice blocks and two larger ones will be carved in advance and brought in on refrigerated trucks, while others will be carved on site.

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"The idea is to bring people downtown at a time they typically don't with the cold weather," Cullinane said.

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts approached the arts council with the idea for an ice festival last year, said Beth Luka, former director of the arts council who is still involved in the project.

"It was just kind of intriguing. Ice sculptures can be very beautiful and intricate," she said.

Discussions led to the involvement with Downtown Chambersburg Inc., but there wasn't enough time to pull it together last year, Cullinane said.

Cullinane is encouraging local businesses to sponsor the sculptures for at least $350 apiece.

The sponsors will have their names displayed on the sculpture and choose from an extensive list of possible designs.

There will be a reception for the business community at F&M Trust on Main Street Oct. 16, with a presentation on the festival and samples of the small sculptures.

If that generates enough interest, there could be as many as 20 or 30 small sculptures, Luka said.

Cullinane said the ice festival will probably only raise enough money to cover the costs of the sculptures and putting the event together.

He said other communities including State College, Pa., and Boston hold similar festivals year after year that have proven successful.

"We'll keep our fingers crossed that it's cold enough," Luka said.

The festival could include entertainment, food and a cold weather staple - hot chocolate.

"I'm from Boston and outdoor winter activities are a lot of fun," Cullinane said. "There is obviously a learning curve here, and we will have to get the word out."

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