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 15th year in 2020, this free event takes place every year on the President’s day weekend. In 2020, the festival will be held from 14 – 16 Feb.
The Fire and Ice festival takes place in the downtown of the town of Lititz.
Must be wondering what does Fire refer to in this?
Fire in the festival comes from the Fire Shows that happens on Friday and Saturday evening and the Chili cook-off on Saturday.
The Fire show happens behind the Lititz Mutual (2 North Broad Street). The ice sculptures are on display on Broad street and Main Street.
Fire and Ice Festival begins on Friday evening from 5 -9 p.m. with the Downtown Block Party. The artists carve the blocks of ice into a beautiful creation. It is fascinating to see how using tools like chisel and chainsaws, a block of ice turns lively.
Since this is a night of art, there are other forms that add magic to the experience. There is a live music stage set for the entertainment and spectacular fire display at the Lititz Springs Park.
And to satisfy your appetite, there are lots of restaurants and food trucks open till late in the night.
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.
The admission tickets are reasonably priced at $10 for Adults and $5 for children and the best part is that you get to sample the chilies and judge the best for you. The proceeds from the event are to support and enhance the Lititz community.
How can kids be left behind?? There is so much fun in terms of kids carnival, music, games and activities planned to keep the kids also entertained. Unlimited play wristband or individual tickets can be bought for the rides.
For some shopping fun, the free vendor fair showcasing local products is a must-visit.
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 (in 2018), 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.
Kids found some interesting ways to enjoy the sculptures.
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.
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.
If you happen to be visiting during the Ice festival, there might be a lot of options for the food trucks available on Friday and Saturday. Otherwise, there are some great choice-
If you are in close proximity, driving would be the best choice. Other options are train or bus.
Lancaster station is the nearest train station. Regular Amtrak train service connects Lancaster to major cities of Philadelphia, New York. While coming from Washington DC, connect to Lancaster from Philadelphia 30th street station. Check and plan your trip on Amtrak. Bus no 10 connects the station to Lititz.
Bus services by Greyhound and Ourbus connect Lancaster to major cities on the east coast.
The nearest domestic airport is Lancaster airport with regular flights to Pittsburg, Baltimore and some cities in Pennsylvania.
The nearest international airport is Harrisburg International Airport about 30 miles away with connections to all major cities of the US.
Lititz is a small town, with a lot of Bed & Breakfast options.
Other great places to stay are Holiday Inn Express & Suites and Hotel Rock Lititz.
Lititz, known as the coolest small town of the 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 a 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. 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.