Time to chill in Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Giant blocks of ice turned into works of art are just the tip of the iceberg as far as events heading to Chambersburg at the end of January.

The 20th incarnation of IceFest in downtown Chambersburg is scheduled from Jan. 27 to 30, featuring more than 90 ice sculptures created by DiMartino Ice Co. of Jeannette, Pa., on view throughout the downtown area to remind people of the cold months’ beauty. This year, there will be 17 giant sculptures, the largest number to date. Those giants – all of which are sponsored by businesses – come in four sizes: 3 feet by 6 feet; 4 feet by 10 feet; 6 feet by 10 feet; and 8 feet by 10 feet.

The carvers’ talents will also be exhibited on the double-wide ice slide in the parking area near 133 S. Main St., where chilly thrills await.

A scavenger hunt will take place throughout the event, as will opportunities to watch huge chunks of ice be transformed into works of art. Food vendors will be set up downtown, and many shops and restaurants will be open for extended hours and offer specials to keep visitors fueled and their arms full of merchandise.

Other highlights include:

● Snowfall Ball from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, at the Franklin County Visitors Bureau at 15 S. Main Street

● Icing on the Cake competition from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m​. Saturday

● Chili-Q and beer garden starting at 12 p.m. Saturday on Lincoln Way East near 100 Lincoln Way East.

● Outdoor cornhole tournament from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday on Lincoln Way East

● Run Your Ice Off 5K at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30, in the parking lot behind Main Street Deli, 33 N. Main St.

Since its inception in 2002, IceFest has only been canceled once – in 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Neither the 14 inches of snow that fell on festival weekend one year, nor rain or temperatures in the 60s that threatened the life span of the ice artistry, could stop the event meant to combat the winter blues. One event chairwoman has put in a request this year for perfect weather: temperatures in the low 30s, no wind or snow, and partly cloudy skies.

No matter what Mother Nature doles out, an estimated 20,000 people are expected to descend on downtown Chambersburg over four days to experience plentiful chills, thrills and culinary skills.

When the sun sets around 6 p.m. every day of the festival, the more than 38 tons of frozen water will take on a glow thanks to a flurry of LED lights. The splendor is bound to take away the bleakness of winter, if only for a few hours.

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