Ligonier Ice Fest
by Karen Fetter
In the cold months of winter there is definitely one event to cure your cabin fever. Its the annual Ligonier Ice Fest held in Ligonier, PA. This two-day event consists of on-site ice sculpting, shopping, carriage rides, and more. Its one winter celebration no Westmoreland County resident will want to miss.
The Ligonier Ice Fest was created to help get people out and into the town during a cold time of year, explained Rachel Roehrig, director of the Ligonier Chamber of Commerce. Even though its held in the thick of winter, the Ligonier Ice Fest really turns out to be a wonderful two-day event.
The main attraction of the weekend is the live carving of ice sculptures, which are designed and sculpted by DiMartino Ice of Jeannette. Any business or organization can sponsor a block of ice to be carved. Once the piece is carved it remains on display in the Diamond or in front of a business location in town. All ice sculptures will have a sign that displays the sponsors name.
The event starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday and at Noon on Sunday. DiMartino Ice begins sculpting at the beginning of the day and generally completes about three or four pieces per day. In addition, other ice sculptures are completed beforehand and are placed on display while the live carving takes place. There are generally over 40 sculptures completed for the event.
Once visitors browse through the intricate ice designs, there is more to see. Town businesses are open, offering winter sales that cant be beat. There is everything from antiques and toys to home decor and men’s and women’s clothing. Not to mention jewelry, books, and gift shop items. Strolling the sidewalks of Ligonier in January has never been so much fun.
After you are done shopping, there’s still more to do. On Saturday, the Ligonier Borough Volunteer Fire Department has a spaghetti dinner in the Community Room of the Town Hall. It starts at 11 a.m. and goes until they sell out. For entertainment there is a band concert in the Town Hall Auditorium at 2 p.m. Live music sets the tone for this winter event.
During the Ice Fest, Bauers Horse and Buggy Rides are available to take passengers for a trip through scenic Ligonier. There is nothing better than viewing the historic area under a warm blanket in a carriage being pulled by horses. And it wouldnt be an event in Ligonier if the Kettle Corn Man wasnt on hand selling sweet tasting popcorn. If you have small children, consider bringing them to the Ligonier Library for story hour on Saturday. It will give them a chance to get warm and hear a great story told by the librarian.
Chamber director Rachel Roehrig jokes that they can never decide if they want the weather to be warm so people can walk around or if they want it to be cold so the ice sculptures will not melt. Either way, participants of the yearly event will not be disappointed.
Whether you are visiting Ligonier for business or pleasure, the atmosphere will make you want to return. The store-lined streets and beautifully decorated sidewalks are an alternative to shopping centers and malls. The wooded scenery is enjoyable in all four seasons and has been a constant attraction for many years.
Historic Ligonier Valley is the home of Fort Ligonier, Linn Run State Park, Idlewild Park and Soak Zone, and the Compass Inn. Not to mention the library, theater, art museum and YMCA located in the heart of the town. In addition, special events are sprinkled throughout the year such as Antiques on the Diamond, Summer in Ligonier, band concerts, Ligonier Country Market, and the Christmas Light Up Night. Ligonier is especially known for its Fort Ligonier Days held in the second weekend of October.
For more information about the Ligonier Ice Fest or for
other events in Ligonier, visit www.ligonier.com or call the Ligonier Chamber of Commerce at 724-238-4200.