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Fire and Ice festival in Lititz, PA – Short-Lived Art of Ice Carving

By Neha Kulshrestha  
Fire and Ice Festival in Lititz, Pa heart ice sculpture

Do you want to feed your creative souls? Head off to the Fire and Ice festival in a small town of Lititz in the Pennsylvania state of the USA for aesthetic display of ice sculptures.

Art is freedom. Being able to bend things most people see as a straight line.

Fire and Ice festival in Lititz, PA

I feel most people work from their minds, but the artists work from their hearts. That’s what we experienced when we visited the Fire and Ice Festival in a small town of Lititz in Pensylvania, USA. Into its 13th year, this free event takes place every year on the President’s day weekend.

fire and ice festival in lititz, pa flower ice sculpture

Fire and Ice Festival begins on Friday evening with the artists carving the block of ice into a beautiful creation. It is fascinating to see how using tools like chisel and chainsaws, a block of ice turns lively.

fire and ice festival in lititz, pa wrench ice sculpture

There were about 60 sculptures displayed along Broad Street, Main street and the Springs Park of the town adding to the charm of the town.

When I knew about the festival, I was intrigued by the name and kept wondering what would ‘fire’ refer to here. Fire refers to the chili cookoff that happens on Saturday, which is a ticketed event. Some chefs compete for the best-cooked chili, which adds to the fire and excitement of the event. There is so much fun in terms of kids carnival, music, games and activities planned to keep the kids also entertained. Streets become art gallery displaying the fine ice creations of some geniuses, admired by the patrons. The roads are closed for traffic on Saturday.

Sunday and Monday are days to walk around the streets to admire the sculptures with a cup of hot coffee.

We visited on Sunday, walked around and found some interesting and fun artwork- tractors, tow trucks, beautiful rose, hummingbird sipping nectar, flowers, dragons, musical instruments, work tools and so much more.

fire and ice festival in lititz, pa throne ice sculpture

A slippery chair indeed, we had our turns slipping off…

Kids found some interesting ways to enjoy the sculptures.

fire and ice festival in lititz, pa guitar ice sculpture

Do you like this tune I am playing???

We realized that the weather is an important factor to have these pieces of art in perfect shape. Since a day prior it had snowed, it was accumulated at some pieces and sun on that day melting the ice.

The event is a great way to boost the economy of the small town and help the local businesses.

And when you are there don’t miss the local Wilbur chocolate factory store. They have been in business since 1884. With lots of variety of chocolates – milk and dark, chocolate covered pretzels, gold coins, their famous Wilbur buds, coffee and so much more. There were many patrons of these chocolates filling their bags and hearts. We found them a bit expensive, but worth checking out some fun candies and tasting the samples.

fire and ice festival in lititz, pa Wilbur chocolates

This was a perfect way to feed our creative souls, raising our spirits on a cold day and let the kids admire a new form of art.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”. ~Thomas Merton.

Tips

  1. Use the map of the event and ice sculptures to walk around which is available on fire and ice festival.
  2. Tickets for Chili cook-off are available at Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill (Lititz location only) Dosie Dough, Bomberger’s and Aaron’s Books.  Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under. Do check the official website for prices and locations before going.
  3. Food trucks line up the streets on Friday and Saturday to enjoy the appetizing food.
  4. Parking available at Warwick High School or Lititz Elementary school. Street parking both metered and unmetered are also available around Main and Broad streets. On Sunday and Monday, parking is also available at Lititz Springs Park. We found free street parking next to the Main street as it was Sunday.
  5.   Wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather as most of it is outside and might be wet.

Where to Eat

If you happen to be visiting during Ice festival, there might be a lot of options on the food trucks available on Friday and Saturday. Otherwise, there are some great choices-

  1. Dosie Dough – a small famous bakery to grab bagels, sandwiches or a hot latte.
  2. Tomato pie cafe – A Victorian house, converted to a restaurant offers a wide variety of choices to satisfy.

Fun things to do for kids

  1. Appreciating the fascinating Ice sculptures and letting the imagination run wild.
  2. Caboose museum – There is a caboose outside the Lititz Springs park that has been converted into a museum and has some models of trains and information about the history of rails in this region. Great way to spend 15 minutes.fire and ice festival in lititz, pa caboose museum
  3. Wilbur chocolate factory store – a sweet treat for all right on Broad Street. The factory opened doors way back in 1884. The enticing chocolate aroma fills up the air as you walk into the store. They are famous for their signature Wilbur buds for which you can get free samples.
  4. Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery. It is the place where pretzels were sold commercially in the US for the first time around 157 years back. Tours offered every day that talk about the history of pretzel making. The factory still uses the original method and recipe for making their pretzels even today.  It is fascinating to see the old brick ovens used to bake the twisted treats. One can even try hands twisting their own pretzels. Tours tickets are $3.50 adults and $2.50 for kids.
  5. Feeding the ducks in Lititz Springs Park. Don’t forget to carry some quarters.fire and ice festival in lititz, pa springs park duck feeding

Fun facts about ice carving

  1. Ice carving, an art taught in culinary schools, meant to be a form of food decorations is a popular skill now practiced outside.
  2. Ice sculptures are a perishable form of art and depend upon the temperature for its life. The cooler the weather, longer the life. Just like the day we visited, it was sunny and temperatures touching 45F, and we could see some melting.
  3. Ice sculpting is a part of the Winter Olympics, not as a sport though but Olympic art festival.
  4. There are many ice and Snow festivals and competitions all across the northern hemisphere. Some famous are –

Things to do in and around Lititz, PA

Lititz, known as the coolest small town of US is at a great location in Lancaster County. Besides to add to your list, you can explore the countryside life of the Amish people, go shopping, go on adventure rides or visit a Japanese Pagoda all within an hour.

Lancaster –  It is home to the oldest Amish community in the US. With traditional lifestyle, you still see them riding the horse buggies and not using the electricity. Doesn’t it sound like going back on time machine? The vast farmlands with lush green cornfields, cows grazing in the barn, farmer working are all that you see and experience in this Dutch country. Riding strong on their culture and holding the roots tight, it’s an opportunity not to be missed.

Japanese pagoda – The 7 story pagoda is atop Mt Penn which is visible from the city of Reading. The pagoda is open only on Saturday and Sunday from 12-4 p.m. and is free to explore.fire and ice festival in lititz, pa Reading Japanese pagoda Kitchen kettle village –  If you want to experience shopping of local and handmade Amish food and craft, then this is the must visit. From jams and jellies, quilts, handmade fudge to Dutch furniture, can be shopped for. For the complete experience, read about in our post Kitchen Kettle.

Dutch Wonderland – An amusement park for the kids with more than 35 rides, where you could spend the whole day enjoying. It has a water play area which opens during the summer. Do check the website for hours and tickets. Best time to visit is during summer when you can enjoy the water park.fire and ice festival in lititz, pa Dutch wonderland water park

 

Have you been to Lititz or Lancaster County? Have you been to any Ice and snow festival? Did you admire a new form of art? Do share your experiences with us. We would love to hear your views.

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Fire and Ice Festival in Lititz, Pa

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    Richa
    March 9, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Great post! I have been to Lancaster Co but only to see the Amish country, this fire & Ice show sounds so much fun 🙂 Making a note of it for next winter for sure since it’s so close.

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      March 11, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      Yes there’s so much besides Amish country there. But yes do add this to your list.. And have u been to Kitchen Kettle village in Lancaster for some shopping fun? If not do check my post on that too. Lip smacking jams, jellies, salsas and so much more.

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      January 4, 2019 at 9:14 am

      Thanks Richa. I know most of us visit Lancaster for Amish experience, but there’s so much more. Do visit, its so much fun. Dates for 2019 are 15-16 Feb.

  • Reply
    Michelle Joy
    March 9, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    I find ice sculptures so impressive! I would be super sad to watch my hard work melt away though!

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      March 11, 2018 at 8:44 pm

      Oh yes, we were spellbound to see the creativity that is so short lived and dependant on weather. Some big sculptures even take hours to carve but stay a few days only.

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      January 4, 2019 at 9:11 am

      Yes, we appreciate the hard work and creativity the artists put in. But love the efforts they put in inspite they know that their creations are short lived.

  • Reply
    Mina
    March 11, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Loving ice sculptures! And this festival seems like so much fun! Oh, and can we talk about those chocolates?! Oh my, would love to taste them all

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      March 11, 2018 at 8:49 pm

      Yes, I am assuming that Saturday would be more fun with the chilli cook-off and carnival. And yes chocolates are so tempting. My kids wanted to buy everything, hard to take them out. 😀

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      January 4, 2019 at 9:10 am

      Yes Mina, this ice festival was so much fun to visit. Ha ha, chocolates are my weakness and getting to taste some is always welcome. 🙂 Good to know others who share the same love.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Rebecca
    January 2, 2019 at 8:56 am

    Those ice sculptures were so cool. I wonder how difficult they were to make. Also, love your info on snacking during the festival. Food is always a priority for me when traveling.

  • Reply
    Bradley & Jenny
    January 2, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Wow, thanks for the wonderful pictures and information about the Fire & Ice festival. We had no idea that this was being held in PA, but it is even more interesting now that we know it is also a Chili festival! Bonus points for putting in other things to do around the area including food and child friendly places! Awesome article, keep up the great work and thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    anshul
    January 2, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Wow, this is such a unique travelogue. Most of the festivals don’t really care of children and they end up getting bored. but I can clearly see from pics that here the young ones are enjoying.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    January 2, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    I’ve always thought it would be so cool to learn how to carve ice sculptures!! Would I be any good at it? Probably not lol, but I’d still enjoy the attempt. Thanks for the fun post!

  • Reply
    Nina Out and About
    January 2, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    I had no idea the US have ice carving as well! In Canada, we do this a lot. Ottawa has an incredible festival with ice carving every winter that I used to love going to as a kid. Ice carving is just better when you’re little!

  • Reply
    Kemi
    January 2, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    I’d love to see the Amish in Lancaster County! Really a throwback in time. Also, the ice carvings would be nice to see and the chili very welcoming in the winter.

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      January 4, 2019 at 9:06 am

      Yes Kemi, visiting Amish is a unique experience that we loved every time we visited Lancaster. And ice festival is an added bonus.

  • Reply
    Jazmine Whitlock
    January 2, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    Wow I have never heard of this festival. Looks really cool and like a lot of fun for kids. I will have to keep this in mind for when I visit the east coast. Thanks for the information.

  • Reply
    SuBhaSun
    January 2, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    Beautiful post. I am sure you had a gala time with your family there. I loved that slippery chair. Loved your photos.

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      January 4, 2019 at 9:05 am

      Thanks SuBhaSun for appreciating. Yes it was a great time and day well spent. Ha ha the slippery chair reminded how my husband slipped from the chair while trying to sit. Can’t post that pic though. 😉

  • Reply
    Richa
    January 3, 2019 at 2:36 am

    I have never been to Lititz but Loved to read about the Fire and Ice festival – and those two lovely kids peeping through the Sculptures 🙂

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      January 4, 2019 at 9:03 am

      Richa, hopefully this will give you more reasons to visit US now. 🙂 Ha ha..the kids know how to enjoy. I am sure your kids will also get excited to see an ice festival. 🙂

  • Reply
    Laurence
    January 3, 2019 at 8:47 am

    wow this really looks and I bet kids will really love it. The carvings are nice, I remember having one in Toronto, so it was a good experience and there was a lot of people to take picture of it, haha.

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      January 4, 2019 at 9:02 am

      Thanks, Laurence. Yes, the kids loved it. It was the first time for all of us. Yes, I have heard a lot about ice carving festivals in Canada and China. Hopefully can experience at other places as well.

  • Reply
    Gabby
    January 4, 2019 at 11:36 am

    I was hoping the fire part of the festival came from melting all the ice sculptures with a blow torch! But, I love chili so I can totally appreciate that it is part of the festival too. How incredible that these sculptures are made with chainsaws!

  • Reply
    Christine Rogador
    January 4, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    It’s interesting that the ice curving was taught in a culinary school! Never knew that. Also this looks like fun. Love snow and it’s something that I’d enjoy doing.

  • Reply
    Katie
    January 4, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    What an interesting festival! I imagine they are really difficult to create but so worth it, they look beautiful!

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      January 15, 2019 at 10:59 am

      Absolutely, it was a different experience for us which we cherished.

  • Reply
    Izzy
    January 6, 2019 at 4:19 am

    Such a cool event in a small town! American small towns can be cool. In Hungary, where I live, people are leaving small towns because nothing ever happens in them, and they are too boring for young people.

    • Reply
      Neha Kulshrestha
      January 15, 2019 at 10:34 am

      Yes, and the whole town comes together and becomes a part of that event. Great way to beat the winter blues. 🙂
      Maybe slowly Hungary will also start having events in small towns.

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