The City of Harrisburg’s 6th annual Ice & Fire Festival presented by M&T Bank will return on Saturday, March 4. There will be 65 ice sculptures throughout the City and a street festival in the Downtown area from 11am-8pm featuring an ice slide, fire dancers, live ice carvings, fire pits and smores, food trucks, an artist market, entertainment stage, and more. The newest addition to the festival this year is the Chili Cook-Off at the Broad Street Market on Friday, March 3 from 5:30-8pm. Read on to find out everything you need to know to plan your trip to this free event!
We can’t wait to kick off the festival with the inaugural Chili Cook-Off sponsored by Capital Blue Cross at the Broad Street Market on Friday, March 3 from 5:30-8pm. Thee event will feature chilis made by 12 Market vendors, a sneak peak at 5+ ice sculptures, beer for purchase from Zeroday Brewing and JB Lovedrafts, music by Zach King, a custom coloring page for the kids, and more.
Tickets are $10 for adults and can be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/broad-street-market-chili-cook-off-tickets-533867220227 or at the event (as space permits). Tickets for children under 13 are just $5 and can be purchased at the event. All ticket proceeds benefit the Broad Street Market, a non-profit.
There will be 65 ice sculptures, including 6 life size ones, throughout the City in Downtown, Midtown, City Island, Italian Lake, Reservoir Park and Shipoke. The sculptures will be illuminated in various colors from 7-9pm. Designs include a throne, tractor and wagon, knight, coffee mug, sports car, electric guitar, peace sign, several movie characters, and more! Attendees are encouraged to participate in the ice sculpture scavenger hunt contest for the chance to win gift cards and prizes form local businesses. Simply scan the QR code at each ice sculpture you visit and enter your email on the online form you are directed to. You must visit at least 10 ice sculptures for the chance to win. All contest rules can be found at https://harrisburgpa.gov/ice. Be sure to use the map found at the website so you don’t miss any!
Wondering how these ice sculptures are created? Stop by 2nd Street near Market Street at 2pm to see a talented member of Ice Concepts use chainsaws and other tools to turn blocks of ice into “I ♥️HBG” – the perfect photo op! Local ice carver Katie Trainer will also do a live ice carving at the Harrisburg Beach Club on City Island from 1-4pm.
Attendees of all ages can also take a thrilling ride down the Aetna giant ice slide located on 2nd Street near Walnut Street. There is no fee to ride.
The crowd favorite fire dancer performances by Skylark Circus will return to the UPMC stage this year at 4:30pm and 7:30pm. Local community and school groups will also perform on the stage throughout the day. Performances include dance groups, jazz bands and vocal groups. See the full schedule in the event guide.
If you need a place to warm up during the festival, head to the Pennsy Supply heated seating tent on 2nd Street near Market Street. Acoustic musicians will perform at the tent throughout the day including Rhyne McCormick at 11:30am, Colby Dove at 2pm, Grant Bryan at 4:30pm and Jeremy Graeff at 7pm.
You can also warm up at the fire pit area on 2nd Street near Walnut Street while roasting a smore. More than 200 free smores kits will be distributed each hour for attendees to roast at the fire pits, courtesy of Karns Foods.
Food & Drink
Come hungry because there will be no shortage of delicious food and beverages to try throughout the day. There will be 16 food trucks serving specialty tacos, burgers, funnel cakes, stuffed waffles and pretzels, BBQ and more along 2nd Street. There will also be some specialty food vendors offering snacks such as jerky, kettle corn, baked, goods, and more. A complete foodie guide with menus from each truck and dietary options, such as gluten free, vegetarian and vegan, is available in the event guide.
Businesses throughout the City will also be offering a variety of ice and fire themed cocktail, coffee and other drink specials. Participating locations can be found in the event guide and map.
Shop Handcrafted Items & Get Crafty
Come ready to shop for one of a kind jewelry, pottery, apparel, bath and body products, candles and more from more than 30 artisans’ set-up inside City Hall and along 2nd Street between Market & Walnut from 11am-8pm. The HBG Flea will also be happening at Strawberry Square from 10am-4pm for attendees to shop even more artisan wares.
Those looking for a hands-on art experience can sign up for a DIY glass icicle workshop with Glass Artist Michael Peluso. The workshops are $40/person and will be held from 12-6pm throughout the festival. Register in advance at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hot-glass-workshop-make-your-own-glass-icicle-tickets-523943377747?aff=ebdsoporgprofile or walk-up day of (space permitting).
More Family Fun
Enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride from 1-8pm for up to 4 adults with Benchfield Farms. Walk-up or reserve in advance by calling Traci at 717-448-8464. Take a 15-minute route on City Island for $50 with advance registration (ends March 3) or $55 walk-up. Take a 30-minute route from City Island through Riverfront Park for $100 with advance registration (ends March 3) or $105 walk-up.
Kids will enjoy a variety of free activities throughout the event, including face painting and balloons animals along 2nd Street near Locust Street. The Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts will offer a free snowflake STEAM activity from 11am-3pm and their Science Center will be open from 9:30am-3pm for standard admission rates. The McCormick Riverfront Library will offer a free ice painting activity from 10am-2pm in their Children’s Area.
Plan Your Visit
Now that you know all the fun activities that will be happening during the festival, let us help you with parking, transit options, and places to stay.
New this year, Krapf School Bus will be offering a free ADA accessible shuttle bus to take attendees between City Island, the Downtown street festival, and Midtown. This will make viewing the ice sculptures and businesses throughout the City even easier! The shuttle leaves every 30 minutes starting at City Island at 11am. The last shuttle to City island will depart Midtown at 8:15pm. See the shuttle stop locations in the event guide and map.
For those driving, free parking will be available in the lot on City Island, lots #2 & #4 on Reily Street near Logan Street in Midtown courtesy of Greenworks Development, the 2-hour public parking lot at Verbeke and Fulton Street in Midtown and the lot off of Reservoir Dr in Reservoir Park. In the Downtown area, the Market Square Garage is $10 from 10am-10pm courtesy of Park Harrisburg or you can use the code LUVHBG to get 4 hours of free street parking in the Downtown area prior to 5pm (its free Downtown after 5pm). You can also utilize the Walnut Street Garage for the standard rates. Metered street parking is also available throughout the City.
The train station is conveniently located in the Downtown area just steps away from ice sculptures and the street festival. There are also CAT bus stops throughout the City.
To make the most of your trip to the City, consider staying the night in a hotel or bed and breakfast so you can continue your explorations the next day. Find all the best accommodations in the City at https://www.explorehbg.com/stay/. The ice sculptures, weather permitting, will still be in place to view and there are several great brunch options, a mural trail, Brew Barons Beer Trail, Sweet Treat Trail and more attractions to keep you busy all weekend long.