by Elena Bittinger
This season brings long, cold nights, short, cold days, and a yearning for spring. But don’t just grab your fleecy blanket and hibernate in front of the fire, or you’ll miss a delight that you’ll find at no other time of year: the region’s winter celebrations.
The Winter Festival in Hanover, IceFest in Chambersburg, and Ice Art Fest in Carlisle offer spectacular attractions and fun activities for all ages. So fold up that blanket and head out into the wonderful cold with family and friends. It will be worth the nip to your nose.
Hanover Winter Festival
On Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, Codorus State Park will hold the third annual Winter Festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Festival chairman Larry Albright launched the celebration after a discussion with Warren Wentz, retired park manager, at Codorus’ Halloween in the Park event.
“There isn’t anything to do in the winter,” Wentz had remarked. Albright decided to make a liar of his friend.
Hanover needed a winter celebration that equaled the excitement of the summertime “Codorus Blast” and the fall Halloween event. The Hanover Winter Festival fills that gap.
The festival features live ice and wood carving, horse-drawn wagon rides, a frozen bologna toss (credit for that idea goes to park manager Deanna Schall), and the Eagle Plunge, where you and your friends can test your stamina — and your nerve — by jumping into freezing cold water.
And, if you’re too sensible for that, there’s always the Chicken Plunge, where you jump in up to your knees. Children can navigate an obstacle course hosted by the Hanover Rhino’s football team, and a craft tent will bet set up for all-day entertainment. A DJ will spin tunes and you can count on delicious food from a variety of vendors.
For more information, visit www.friendsofcodorus.org
You want more ice? You got it!
Up to 80 ice sculptures, large and small, will be displayed for Chambersburg’s 16th annual IceFest, running Jan. 25-28, thanks to continued sponsorship from M&T Bank, local businesses, the Council of the Arts, Downtown Chambersburg Inc., and the Downtown Business Council.
Dazzling ice sculptures will line the sidewalks and be “a joy for families and are truly for everybody,” said Penny Shaul, a committee member of the Downtown Business Council.
The festival begins with a ribbon cutting at Courthouse Plaza and ends with a 5K run. In between, you can enjoy varied events throughout the weekend, including a Snowfall Ball, a Chili Cook-off under a big heated tent, the Icing of the Cake cake decorating competition, and another chance to cool down with the Polar Dunk Plunge. The festival also features Frozen Flicks, live ice carving, a scavenger hunt and the Double-Wide Ice Slide.
For more information, visit www.icefestpa.com
Carlisle Ice Art Fest
Want to feel like royalty? Sit on an ice throne at Carlisle’s second annual Ice Art Fest, which takes place Feb. 9-11.
The Ice Art Fest features approximately 50 ice sculptures that are “beautiful and glistening,” said Robyn Dingle, Ice Art Fest founder, the owner of 2nd Time Around consignment shop and a member of the Downtown Carlisle Association. In addition to teaming up with local businesses to ensure a memorable festival, Dingle herself creates the ice throne.
Two new events debut at Ice Art Fest this year: an improv comedy show and a digital scavenger hunt. The Diamond Dig is back for folks who buy one of the 100 available tickets. There’s also a chance to meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen and watch the movie as well.
Dancers and dance lovers can look forward to a performance by hip-hop dance troupe REACH, and will have a chance to learn swing dancing from Green Door Dance Studio.
Last year, 25,000 people attended Ice Fest. Dingle hopes to increase that number to 30,000 this year.
For more information, visit www.lovecarlisle.com