After New Year’s resolutions have started to fade and weeks of bitter cold have set in, we enter a state of hibernation with a touch of cabin fever. What better way to break the habit of weekend Netflix binging than attending Lititz’s Fire and Ice Festival?
Back for its 13th year in a row, visitors and locals alike love this winter event. You can expect awesome ice carvings, taste bud-tickling chili, and loads of local love bustling about this quaint, walkable town. The event begins on Friday, February 16 and continues through Monday, February 19, 2018.
The Fire and Ice Festival is estimated to bring in 40,000 people to the little town of Lititz over the course of the weekend. Put on by Venture Lititz and the Lititz Lions Club, the event is a fundraiser for the community programming of both organizations.
Part 1 – The Ice:
Channel your inner Elsa for Friday night’s spectacular kick off of the Fire and Ice Festival in the Lititz Springs park and around town. With so much to do and see, the cold won’t bother. Fairy lights strung amongst the trees, live music drifting through the air, and ice sculptures transform the park into a winter wonderland.
You will feel as if you are transported into Narnia as you walk around the park and watch the live carving of over 50 ice sculptures. Seeing large blocks of ice transformed before your eyes into detailed works of art will freeze you in your tracks. This mesmerizing show of craftsmanship is what the night is all about.
Stroll through the park while you sip on something hot, and munch on snacks from the food trucks located around town. If you need to warm up there are fire pits near the outdoor amphitheater in the back of the park. Live music is performed throughout the evening and marshmallows are distributed for s’mores.
Sculptures are also carved at various locations around town, all of the ice sculptures are placed around Broad Street and Main Street for the remainder of the weekend for visitors to admire before they melt away. For Friday night, the streets are closed to vehicular traffic turning the main square into a big, town block party. This part of the event runs from 5-9 PM.
Part 2- The Fire:
The cook-off is held at the Warwick High School (301 W. Orange St.) from 11 AM to 3 PM. Upon paying admission you are free to sample as many types of chili as you wish. From hot and spicy, to vegetarian, to different meat and bean combinations the varieties and flavors are vast. Once you have eaten your fill, cast your votes.
Votes raise money for the various charity organizations- the yummier the chili, the more votes they get, and the more money goes to the chef’s charity of choice. Win- win- win!
Along with chili there is also a Kid’s Carnival. Young chili enthusiasts (10 and under) can play games, color or visit craft stations, and partake in a variety contests throughout the day. If you do not have any young ones in tow to take to the carnival, you can check out the vendor fair which features local’s vendors and businesses.
Locals tips to Lititz:
• For Friday, be sure to dress in warm layers and wear boots. The park is often snowy or muddy at this time of year, so it is best not to wear your favorite shoes.
• Sections of Main Street and Broad Street are closed to vehicle traffic on Friday night from 4- 9 PM for the event, so plan your travel route accordingly. Broad Street will be closed from Orange Street to Front Street and Main Street will be close from Broad Street to Cedar Street.
• Because this event is very popular, the restaurants are usually pretty busy. Plan to accommodate a wait time in your schedule if you are grabbing dinner in town… rather than waiting to choose a place to eat while you are on the verge of being hangry.
• Buy your admission to the chili cook-off in advance, because it can sell out. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under (if they plan on having chili). Buttons can be purchased in advance at Stauffers of Kissel Hill (Lititz Location), Bombergers, Dosie Dough, or Aaron’s Books.
• The event continues through Monday, February 19, so you can walk around downtown Lititz and enjoy the sculptures all weekend, as well as check out local shops and restaurants.