Bring on the freeze

IceFest '06 kicks off today

IceFest '06 kicks off today

February 02, 2006|By JULIE E. GREENE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The only heat IceFest organizers want visitors to experience is from the chili cook-off and new hot pepper-eating contest.

However - as of Wednesday - it was looking doubtful Mother Nature would agree with them.

Organizers decided Wednesday to delay, by one day, putting the smaller ice sculptures around Main Street, said Theresa Bachman-Myers, executive director for the Council for the Arts. They will be put out by 5 p.m. Friday.

IceFest will kick off at 5 p.m. today.

The National Weather Service forecast for Chambersburg was calling for a high of 52 degrees today, well above freezing.

The forecast also was calling for a chance of rain all four days of the event with the possibility of snow.


The snow would be preferable for the event, which runs from today through Sunday, Bachman-Myers said.

IceFest is a good opportunity to get outside and have some fun, during what is usually a dead zone in the middle of winter, Bachman-Myers said.

"It's a great way to reach people through the arts, the ice carvings," said Paul E. Cullinane Jr., president of Downtown Chambersburg Inc.

"My focus is clearly getting people downtown during the mid-winter, getting exposure for the businesses and just having a great event for the public," Cullinane said.

Downtown Chambersburg, the arts council and the Downtown Business Council are presenting IceFest. Sponsors include M&T Bank and Target.

Many downtown stores will stay open late and will be open Sunday, said Rosie Lidard, coordinator for the Downtown Business Council.

This year IceFest will feature 10 large and 57 small ice sculptures. The larger pieces and 35 of the small ones will reflect an animal and circus theme, she said.

The sculpting of 10 large pieces is expected to start at 5 p.m. today along and off Main Street. Some will stand taller than people.

The large sculptures will include a ringmaster, a clown, a lion, a bull, a bear with a ball, an elephant, a carousel horse and, of course, the throne on which visitors can sit.

Carvers will use chain saws, picks, tiny brushes and propane torches to create the art.

"It's a spectacular show," Bachman-Myers said.

"My carver insists that it's bound to get cold because it's been warm so long. So he's not worried about it. Why should I?" Bachman-Myers said.

The perfect weather would be 30 degrees and sunny during the day with the sun sparkling off the ice sculptures, she said.

Rain would be the worst weather because the rain pellets destroy the sculptures even if it's cold, she said.

The plan is to leave the ice sculptures up until the end of next week, barring any warming trends, and the event will generate its own heat with a chili cook-off and a contest to see who can eat the most fresh jalapeo peppers in two minutes. There's a $2 entry fee for competitors.

The contest follows the chili cook-off, which added a new division this year for professionals such as chefs and restaurant owners. There also will be more cash prizes for the cook-off, which will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Evangelical Lutheran Church's Fellowship Hall at 43 W. Washington St. The pepper contest is at 1 p.m.

At least 13 chili dishes were expected to be prepared for the cook-off.

To taste all the chili dishes and get two tickets for drinks costs $10. Five samples cost $5.

Other events downtown during IceFest include:

Central Presbyterian Church on Memorial Square will serve breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday. Breakfast includes a drink, fruit, hash browns, and a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich. Admission is $5.

"The Firebird," a black-light action ballet performed by Chambersburg Ballet Theatre Company at The Capitol Theatre at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The story is about a princess who was turned into a firebird by an evil wizard. She and a prince try to free her subjects, who were caught in an evil garden, said Lavinia Reid, the ballet company's artistic director. Features the music of Igor Stravinsky. Tickets cost $10 for adults and seniors; $5 for children 12 and younger. Call 1-717-263-0202.

The "About Face" exhibit at the Council for the Art's 159 S. Main St. gallery features self-portraits and portraits by Chambersburg Area Senior High School students. Gallery hours during IceFest are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. today and Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The arts council will be selling clown noses and balloons, $1 for a nose and balloon as long as supplies last, to help put people in the circus mood during IceFest.

IceFest '06 schedule of events

Thursday, Feb. 2

IceFest begins at 5 p.m. Food vendors open on Memorial Square.

Carving of 10 giant sculptures from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. along Main Street.

Downtown businesses will be open late.

Friday, Feb. 3

Carving of giant sculptures continues from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. along Main Street.

Food vendors are open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Memorial Square.

Downtown businesses will be open late.

Saturday, Feb. 4

Food vendors open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Memorial Square.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: free photos on the ice throne at Memorial Square, courtesy of First National Bank of Greencastle.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: A clown wandering around downtown will entertain children with balloon animals.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: chili cook-off at Fellowship Hall, First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 43 W. Washington St.

1 p.m.: Pepper-eating contest, Fellowship Hall, First Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Downtown businesses will be open late.

Sunday, Feb. 5

Some downtown businesses will be open.

Directions: From Hagerstown, take Interstate 81 north to Exit 16 for U.S. 30. Go west on U.S. 30 into Chambersburg, Pa. The gateway to IceFest is at the fountain at the intersection of U.S. 30 and U.S. 11. Park on surrounding streets and metered parking lots.

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