Ice cold fun: IceFest opens in Chambersburg with ice carvers and more

January 30, 2013|By MARIE GILBERT |
  • Gary Glenn of State College, Pa., carves an airplane out of ice at the 2012 IceFest in downtown Chambersburg, Pa.
File photo

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — They are beautiful works of art. But you won’t find them in a museum. And forget about displaying them in your house.

As soon as the temperature begins to rise, they’ll disappear.

But attend any outdoor winter festival and you’re bound to see a chunk of frozen water being transformed into glistening masterpieces — some with amazing dimension and detail.

When the 11th annual IceFest is held tonight through Sunday, Feb. 3, in Chambersburg, ice sculptures will be front and center, lining downtown streets.

The official IceFest opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin at 5 tonight.

The works of art come from carvers with DiMartino Ice in Jeannette, Pa., who have become a mainstay at the event.

In addition to the display of their work, the public will have an opportunity to see the carvers in action tonight and Friday evening, when they create several giant sculptures, using tools such as chain saws, chisels and die grinders.

This year, 70 ice sculptures will be on display during the winter festival, said Penny Shaul, IceFest chairwoman.

But IceFest is more than tons of ice being turned into swans, unicorns and wishing wells. It’s four days loaded with a variety of events, Shaul said.

There will be scavenger hunts, a chili cook-off and hot-pepper-eating contest, a Polar Dunk Plunge, a 40-foot-long ice slide, a Snowball Ball and performances by the Chambersburg Ballet Theatre, just to name a few. All of the activities will be held in downtown Chambersburg, Shaul said, most right on Main Street between King and Washington.

The idea for IceFest began 11 years ago when the Council for the Arts of Chambersburg began looking for something to help people shake off the mid-winter blues, Shaul explained. Today, IceFest has become the second largest ice festival in Pennylvania, according to the event website.

 “A large group of volunteers came together to organize this event to get us out of our houses and into our local community,” she said.

Shaul said organizers begin meeting in June to plan the winter celebration, which is made possible by M&T Bank’s sponsorship and coordination by the Borough of Chambersburg, Downtown Chambersburg, Inc., the Council for the Arts, Downtown Business Council of Chambersburg and IceFest Committee members and volunteers.

Since its inception, IceFest has continued to grow, Shaul said. This year’s event is expected to draw more than 10,000 people.

Many come from Pennsylvania and Maryland, she noted, “but I’ve received word that a tour group is coming down from Brooklyn this year.”

Last year’s IceFest wasn’t exactly a winter wonderland, when warm temperatures and rain became part of the event.

“The weather wasn’t great for the ice,” Shaul admitted. “But it seemed to bring even more people downtown.”

If you go ...       

WHAT: 11th annual IceFest

WHEN: Today through Sunday, Feb. 3

WHERE: Downtown Chambersburg, Pa.

COST: Most events are free. Online schedule designates events where there is a fee.

MORE: A complete listing of activities is available at

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