Ice sculptures impress crowd in Chambersburg

February 03, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - One way of estimating the crowd enjoying Chambersburg's IceFest '03 Saturday was by the comments of one merchant who said he counted 50 people who walked by his front door in 10 minutes time.

Beth Luka of the Chambersburg Area Council of the Arts, who with Downtown Chambersburg Inc. planned the three-day event which ended Saturday, said it turned out to be a success.

"It got people out and moving in the middle of winter," she said. "More important, it got people downtown."

The ice sculptures will remain on display downtown today.

It cost about $19,000 to stage the festival.

The five giant ice sculptures and 30 smaller ones that graced the borough's public square and both sides of South Main Street to Kernstown Square were created by Ernie DeMartino of Jeannette, Pa. DeMartino and his crew started carving the ice blocks Wednesday.


"To me, it got the community reacquainted with their downtown," said Paul Cullinane, head of Downtown Chambersburg Inc. "There were people walking on the streets late Wednesday and Thursday night looking at the sculptures and taking pictures."

Cullinane said future ice festivals will include more events with more organizations.

Bill Earley, owner of Twice Read Books & Comics, a used bookstore at 42 S. Main St., said he was surprised by the number of people downtown over the weekend.

"I've talked to people who said they haven't been downtown in years," he said.

Earley said the ice festival differs from other downtown promotional events such as parades and craft festival because people actually walk the sidewalks and look into the shop windows.

"There have been people in here all day," he said.

Stephanie Etter-Shenton, marketing officer at F&M Trust on the square, was among several bank employees handing out free hot chocolate to anyone who passed by their booth.

"We gave out about 2,000 cups in the two days," she said.

Greg and Denise Rosenberry and their son, Connor, from Fannettsburg, Pa., came to Chambersburg to see the first IceFest.

"We wanted to see what it's about," Denise said.

Greg Rosenberry owns a timber cutting company.

"I'm very good with a chain saw, but I couldn't do this," he said of the ice sculptures. "I tried wood sculpting with a chain saw, but there isn't much artistry in me. This is real talent."

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