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Four things to know about IceFest 2020 in Chambersburg

Four things to know about IceFest 2020 in Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa.  Preparation for IceFest is in full swing in downtown Chambersburg.

The winter staple will return for its 18th year downtown. Festivities officially kick off Thursday, Jan. 31 at 5 p.m. and continue Friday, from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

Here are four things to know:

1. More events than ever

Event organizer Downtown Chambersburg Inc. said this year’s schedule is more packed than any before it, with 11 headline events and many other activities on the schedule.

Here are some highlights:

• Pre-IceFest carve-off: Starting Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Gearhouse Brewing Co., ice carvers have 30 minutes to create the coolest sculpture in this head-to-head competition.

• IceFest ribbon cutting: Thursday from 5 to 5:30 p.m. on the southwest corner of Memorial Square. Free cupcakes will be available while supplies last.

• Ice slide open throughout the festival in the parking lot next to Gartenburg Jewelers at 133 S. Main St.

• Snowfall Ball: Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. in the fellowship hall at Central Presbyterian Church.

• Icing on the Cake: Vote for your favorite decorated cake between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. in the Capitol Theatre’s Wood Center, then try a free slice at 4 p.m.

• Chili-Q: Try chili and barbecue from the Chambersburg region; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot next to Main Street Deli.

• IceFest beer garden: Warm up with a cold one between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the back of the parking lot next to Main Street Deli. Must have identification.

• Kids’ Zone obstacle course and scavenger hunt: Noon to 3 p.m. in the parking lot next to Main Street Deli.

• Run Your Ice Off 5K: Registration for the popular annual race starts at 12:30 p.m. in the lot next to Main Street Deli (can also be done in advance online). The race starts at 2 p.m.

2. Live ice carving

While most of the more than 80 ice sculptures at IceFest already will be carved when they are put in their spots along Main Street, the biggest ones take shape on site.

With some skill and a chain saw, ice artists slice stacks of ice blocks into the very Instagram-able ice throne, the official IceFest 2020 logo and other creations chosen by business sponsors.

This year, there will be 11 of the giant ice sculptures. Most of them will be placed around Memorial Square. You can watch these sculptures take shape Thursday and Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.

You also can get in on the ice-carving action before IceFest begins. On the Wednesday night before IceFest, two ice carvers will go head to head in an ice-carving competition at Gearhouse Brewing Co.

3. Photo opportunities

IceFest’s many icy creations are cool to look at, but they’re even cooler to interact with.

Guests of all ages may zip down the 40-foot, double-wide ice slide, pretend to be an ice queen or king for a few moments on the popular ice throne, and strike a pose along the many other ice carvings.

You might want to think ahead a bit if you want to be sure to get photos at the ice throne or take a ride on the slide, as the lines for each can get pretty long — especially Saturday afternoon.

Also keep in mind that some of the giant ice sculptures are best photographed at dark, when they are lit by colorful LED lights.

When interacting with the ice sculptures, be careful not to knock any over.

4. Bring your cash

It is free to attend IceFest, but many activities require at least a few bucks to participate, including Chili-Q ($10 for 10 sample cups), Snowfall Ball ($12) and Icing on the Cake ($1 for one vote, $5 for six votes or $10 for 13 votes).

There also will be a variety of food vendors parked around the square.

“IceFest is definitely a boost to sales for downtown merchants, which is why many of us try to take advantage of the crowds by offering specials and expanding hours during the festival,” said Penny Shaul, IceFest committee chairwoman and owner of the downtown store Here’s Looking At You.

Top photo: The ice slide at IceFest continues to be a main attraction for children who attend the event in downtown Chambersburg. (Herald-Mail file photo)

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