CLARKS SUMMIT — Representatives from the Abington Business and Professional Association (ABPA) credit the changing themes each year for the continued success of the Clarks Summit Festival of Ice.
“The artistry and characters are always different,” Barry Kaplan said. “The magic changes shape each year.”
Kaplan, owner of Everything Natural, is a veteran to the Clarks Summit Festival of Ice having served as a committee member all 12 years. This year’s event will be held Feb. 12-15.
“It’s so much more than just ice and that shows in the ways it’s grown,” he said. “The first year, we only had about 15 sculptures and now we average 50 to 60 every year. There are more live carvings and musical events than ever before. We add to it each year with new features. This year, we will have the Wells Fargo Stagecoach. It doesn’t make many appearances and is truly a special feature.”
An event specific to this year’s theme will be a Native American Gathering “Mini Pow Wow,” sponsored by The Belize Fund and The Portal Institute, Inc. at The Gathering Place on the second floor of the Clarks Summit borough building from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The event will feature a flute player, glass artists, beaded jewelry and Children’s Candy Dances. There will also be Aztec Fire Dancers, drumming and storytelling.
According to Kaplan, some of the sculptures for this year’s “Frozen Frontier” theme will include a covered wagon, a wanted poster and a sheriff.
“I think kids and adults of all ages will appreciate the theme,” he said.
ABPA Executive Director Laura Ancherani has been involved in festival planning for eight years and has noticed substantial improvements.
“Since I’ve been involved, we really took the themes to the next level,” she said. “We started bringing in characters specific to the theme into town and we added the scavenger hunt. We’re always trying to make it better each year. It’s free and appeals to such a broad range of people. It also gets you out of the house in the winter when there is not a lot to do around here if you’re not a skier.”
Ancherani’s favorite aspect of the festival is seeing the joy people, specifically her daughter, Lorelei, 10, get out of attending the event.
“It makes me feel good to see people enjoying it, knowing all the work that’s put into it,” she said. “I love taking my daughter around because she looks forward to it every year. She was a baby when I started, so it’s neat for me to have her understand that Mommy works on the festival.”
Ancherani has been enthused by the public’s excitement for this year’s theme.
“This year and last year, we’ve gotten a lot of pre-feedback on the themes,” she said. ” People are always pumped about the ice festival, but having them pumped about the theme is really fun. We have a lot of music based off the theme and there will be some different acts that people haven’t seen before.”
Frontier Communications, 108 N. State St., will host the “Welcome Center” for the 2016 Festival of Ice. The Frontier Welcome Center gives attendees the opportunity to get warm, have some refreshments, watch a live carving, listen to live music and relax. The entrance is at the rear of the building. Guests can also enter a drawing for a Nest Learning Thermostat.
The Welcome Center Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.