While strolling through our (hopefully snowy) winter wonderland of ice sculptures and holiday lights you might find yourself asking, “Is it the North Pole?” But no silly! It’s Downtown Ithaca’s annual Ice Festival!
On December 10th through 12th in the commons of Ithaca downtown, the annual Ice Festival will take place. You can enjoy a beverage at our 20-foot-long ice bar which will be serving wine, beer, and hot cocoa for the kids while you are mesmerized by the nation’s finest ice carvers as they compete for trophies and cash prizes.
The special events director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, Tatiana Sy, hopes “that the sculptures and general energy will provide a nice vibe for the holidays and offer something new to look at” in the commons.
The new holiday lights, donated by the CFCU Community Credit Union, will be lit for the first time by Mayor Svante Myrick during his celebratory toast at 6 pm on Thursday, the first night of the festival.
This year promises to be the best one yet with guest such as Nate the Great, local fire dancers Becki Hawley and Amanda McLaughlin, The Next Jennaration Dancers, and the Mt. Pleasant Dogsled Team.
The National Ice Carving event will take place in three separate rounds. The first round will be on Friday from 5-9pm. This round will be the speed carving competition where each contestants must create a sculpture in only 20 minutes using a single block of ice.
The second and third rounds will take place on Saturday from 9am-12pm and 2-6pm. The first of which being the carve and deliver competition where each artists will have 3 hours to complete a sculpture and deliver it to downtown Ithaca. The second round of the day is the 2-block show piece which is guaranteed to produce striking large sculptures.
On Saturday, the chowder cook off will take place from 12-5pm. Tickets for the cook-off open on December 7th and can be purchased over the phone at 607-277-8679 or inside Center Ithaca.
Habitat for Humanity’s Annual Cookie Walk will also take place on Saturday from 10am-2pm. The event will be raising money through the cookie sales to “to help Habitat [for Humanity] build more “home sweet homes” for deserving families who need them.”
Tatiana Sy told us that Ithaca Downtown takes pride in events such as these because they typically draw in “all kinds [of people]. Its families, its students, it’s a nice blend of both students and community which is something we typically try to strive for.”
As she has “been the only [person] to plan on the new space over the course of the past few months since it’s been opened,” Sy is excited to see the difference in how the community will react to the “many different kinds of sculptures spread out throughout the [new commons]” rather than through the sidewalks and streets of Ithaca as used while the commons were under construction these past few years.