CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Ice chips flew threw the air Thursday as ice carvers from DiMartino Ice Co. used chain saws, grinders and other tools to transform massive blocks of ice into intricate works of art.
IceFest 2011 is under way in downtown Chambersburg.
Before the iconic Royal Throne was ready for IceFest enthusiasts to perch on to have their photo taken, ice sculptors Robert Higareda and Joseph DiMartino worked tirelessly for hours carving the block of ice into a seat fit for winter royalty.
Six carvers from DiMartino carved three of the giant ice sculptures on Thursday — the Throne, a wishing well and a pretzel. They will carve four more giant ice sculptures today from 5-8 p.m. including a horse and buggy, a sleigh, a groundhog and a three-person interactive sculpture.
Tina Swope and her husband Charles of Needmore, Pa., drove an hour to witness the master carvers in action.
"I'm just fascinated how they cut a pretzel out of that huge piece of ice," said Swope.
While one sculptor used a chain saw to form the ice into a pretzel, another cut ice that would become pieces of salt to put on the pretzel.
"People should bring their kids out to see how this is made. It's an art," said Swope.
Sherry Fahrney of Waynesboro, Pa., enjoyed some free coffee from Sovereign Bank, while her son, Nick, 9, munched on some popcorn and held a balloon compliments of M&T Bank.
Both couldn't take their eyes off the ice that was taking shape into a pretzel right before their eyes.
"I like this. I've never been to one before," Nick Fahrney said.
"I know they have it every year, but we just never made it up," said Sherry Fahrney. "This is really nice with the lights in the trees and everybody is just walking down the street."
This is the ninth year for the event that runs through Sunday.
Downtown Business Council Coordinator Tina Flohr said more than 10,000 people are expected to visit IceFest, presented by M&T Bank and coordinated by Downtown Chambersburg Inc., Council for the Arts, Downtown Business Council and IceFest committee members.
More than 50 ice masterpieces line downtown Chambersburg from King Street to Washington Street.
Flohr said this year's theme is "PA & the Great Outdoors" so everything is themed around either the great outdoors or Pennsylvania.
"When you're stuck inside for the cold months, especially right after the dumping of snow and your kids being off of school, this is a perfect time to get out and see what Chambersburg has to offer," said Flohr.
While the giant ice sculptures are still being carved today, all of the smaller sculptures are complete and include snowboarders, a deer, a diamond, a log cabin, a Nittany lion and more.
The 40-foot Ice Slide in the parking lot next to Gartenberg Jewelry of 133 S. Main Street, was also up and running for its second year.
"This time of year a lot of people get cabin fever and most all of the activities that go on are free. It's a great family friendly event, and it never fails that people come downtown and bump into friends and people they haven't seen in a while," said Penny Shaul, IceFest chairwoman.
During IceFest, many of the downtown businesses will have extended hours.