more winter festivals
FIRE + ICE FEST, Reading, Pennsylvania.
Includes a chili cook-off, ;re performers and a
“Snow;ake Ball” ($10).
FIRE & ICE FESTIVAL, Somerset,
Pennsylvania. Celebrating its 24th year,
this festival has a board-game theme and
includes ;reworks, bon;res, a children’s play
area and a 5K. somersetinc.org/fireandice
FIRE & ICE FESTIVAL, Bethany Beach,
Delaware. An oceanfront celebration with
an ice-skating rink and a beach bon;re.
Jan. 31-Feb. 3
ICEFEST, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
Promises 80 ice sculptures, a double-wide ice
slide, a 5K, glass-blowing demos, a “Snowfall
Ball” with dance instruction, and a chili cook-off in a heated outdoor tent. icefestpa.com
HEART OF LEWISBURG ICE FESTIVAL,
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Features a polar
bear plunge in the Susquehanna River, a
chocolate tour and evening festival, and
a capella groups from Bucknell University.
FEBRUARY FIRST SATURDAY (FIRE IN ICE),
Frederick, Maryland. Includes an ice luge, ;re
dancers, ;re pits, s’mores and an ice bar on
the creek. downtownfrederick.org/event-pro/
ICE ART FEST, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Enjoy 70-plus ice sculptures, a chili cook-off,
beer tasting and an ice bar. iceartfest.com
FRANKLIN ON ICE, Franklin, Pennsylvania.
Includes a chili cook-off and bingo. franklinpa.
BUTLER CARVED IN ICE, Butler, Pennsylvania.
Includes an outdoor chili cook-off and wine
and beer sampling. butleramrotary.com/
continued from page 294
In our case it works. We pop inside
the bakery and, for a small fee, take a
tour and learn how to twist pretzels
correctly at what was reportedly the
first commercial pretzel bakery in the
U.S., where workers once made 10
cents an hour, working 10 hours a day,
six days a week. Our salty carb indulgence is to be the first of many.
To kick o; the o;cial festivities,
Lititz shuts down its central streets
and has a block party on Friday night.
;e biggest spectacles are more than
50 ice sculptures, ranging from a massive throne (yes, you can sit on it) to
delightful smaller pieces depicting
food, animals (both real and fantastical) and symbols. Many are backlit
with colored lights.
As darkness falls, I am reminded
of the German tradition of the
volks-march (“people’s march”), which
compels townspeople of all ages to
get outside for a brisk walk. Everyone
seems to be out and about, admiring
the glimmering sculptures while filling their bellies with a smorgasbord of
street food. Some 20 food trucks are
lined up, hawking everything from
strudel and burgers to batter-fried
cheese curds. Families roast marshmallows over fire pits in the middle
of the street, and the local restaurants
and watering holes are hopping, the
sounds of live music emanating from
several corners into the night air.
Outside of the Lititz Mutual Insurance building, with its lovely limestone
clock tower, we stop to watch one of
the artists from DiMartino Ice Co. at
work on a Pegasus sculpture. Many of
the sculptures are pre-carved at the
company’s o;ce near Pittsburgh and
hauled to the site, owner Ernie DiMartino explains, but the team always saves
a few larger pieces to carve on location
with a variety of power tools—
chain-saws, chisels, sanders, and finally, a
blowtorch to add that finishing shine.
DiMartino credits social media with
the growing popularity of ice festivals.
“Everybody’s got a camera now,” he
says, “and something about ice makes
it popular in pictures.” Indeed.
Continuing our stroll, we stop at
Olio ( oliooliveoil.com) and sample a
dozen or so of the 104 olive oils and
vinegars in shiny vats. (Pro tip: ;e bit-tersweet-chocolate-orange balsamic
vinegar is irresistible, as is the apricot
in white balsamic.) ;e store feels like
Willy Wonka’s factory for those whose
taste buds lean sweet-sour and savory.
It o;ers handy 2-ounce bottles for sale,
along with an attractive array of Italian
;e next morning we walk back into
town, making note of ice sculptures we
missed in the dark the night before.
Every other storefront, it seems, o;ers
some sort of culinary treat, while those
in between showcase stylish and warm
home furnishings or clothing.
After some window (and real) shopping, we walk the few blocks to the
o;cial “fire” part of the festival. Inside
the high school, a chili cook-o; is raising funds for area nonprofits. For $10,
we can taste more than 20 types of
chili—everything from a white chicken
stew to a Philly-cheesesteak-style chili,
complete with a dollop of Cheez Whiz
on top. We surrender after about six
samples and go in search of water bottles, passing an eclectic mix of local
vendors and a children’s carnival.
Back outside, the midday temperature has peaked at a sunny 40 degrees,
causing the ice sculptures to glisten
and drip a bit. It’s short-lived. Soon,
the mercury drops once again, and to
our delight, flu;y snowflakes begin
to fall, gracefully frosting the town.
Grateful for our hats and gloves, we
revisit our favorite ice sculptures one
last time, basking, like kids, in the joy
of fresh snow. n
Arlington travel writer Amy Brecount
White ( amybrecountwhite.com) enjoys
any excuse to connect with old friends
and explore new towns.