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Ice in the 'Burg (March 5th -7th)

Published: Feb 23, 2021
Ice in the Burg Dino Sculpture

Ice is coming to the ‘Burg on March 5-7 with ice sculptures throughout the City!

Looking for something fun to do with the family? This year, the City of Harrisburg has redesigned it's Ice & Fire Festival to create a safe, outdoor event for the whole family in light of Covid-19.

Instead of a one-day festival on 2nd Street in Downtown Harrisburg, the new Ice in the 'Burg event will be held over three days, and will include 55 ice sculptures spread across the City in locations such as City Island, Downtown, Midtown, Italian Lake, Reservoir Park and Shipoke. While the classic ice skating rink and ice slide are not available due to Covid guidelines, the City has added new activities such as drive-thru experience on City Island, Eat in the Street outdoor dining and kids activities at local businesses.  (All activities and dining will follow Covid-19 guidelines.)

Click HERE to download the event program guide & map!

Ice Sculpture Map 2021

Event Schedule

Friday, March 5 | 7-9pm

  • Drive-thru experience on City Island featuring 14 illuminated ice sculptures, live ice carving, Frozen characters, stilt walker, musician Dave McCullough, Susquehanna Dance Academy and more

Saturday, March 6 | 10am-9pm

  • 55 ice sculptures throughout Downtown, City Island, Midtown, Shipoke, Italian Lake and Reservoir Park (sculptures illuminated from 7-9pm) (GIS map)
  • Photo opp with “I ♥ HBG” light display at 10 N 2nd St from 12-9pm
  • Civic Club of Harrisburg is hosting Frozen characters, bonfire, kids games and concessions from 12-7pm at 612 N Front St
  • McCormick Riverfront Library is offering ice painting from 3-7pm at 101 Walnut St
  • Outdoor dining on Saturday, March 6 from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. on Second Street. (view participating locations and specials in program guide)
  • Coffee, cocoa and cocktail specials from participating locations throughout the City 

Sunday, March 7 | 10am-7pm 

  • 55 ice sculptures throughout Downtown, City Island, Midtown, Shipoke, Italian Lake and Reservoir Park (GIS map)
  • McCormick Riverfront Library is offering ice painting from 3-7pm at 101 Walnut St
  • Coffee, cocoa and cocktail specials from participating locations throughout the City (view participating locations and specials in program guide)

The Art of Ice Sculpting

HBG Ice Carving DemoFrozen water is a way for artists to show off their sculpting talents. Let’s learn more about the process of creating this temporary art!

Step 1: The blocks of ice are frozen in special machines called clinebell machines. These machines have remote compressors that freeze the ice from the bottom to the top, allowing all the minerals in the water to gather at the top so the water can then be vacuumed off so the ice is crystal clear. It takes 40 gallons of water to make one block and in cold weather it can take 3 to 4 days to freeze.

This process is different from freezing ice cubes in a home freezer because the ice freezes on all sides and traps the minerals in the water inside. That is why ice cubes made at home are opaque.

Step 2: Once frozen, a 300-pound block of ice is pulled from the block makers. It is then trimmed down with a band saw and stacked in the freezer until it is ready to be carved. Depending on the time of year, the ice may need to move through different freezers each having warmer temperatures at every step. If a change in temperature is too quick, the ice will crack.

Step 3:  When the block is ready to carve, tools such as chain saws, chisels, routers and grinders are used to create the design by the sculptors. For designs that require stacking, heated metal plates will be used to make the seams smooth. Depending on the ice design, paper templates are drawn to attach to the ice with water or an opaque projector is used. Most often, the ice is carved free hand with no template. A blow torch or brush with water is used to clean out any snow on the ice when the carving is complete. It can take anywhere from 2 hours to multiple days to complete one sculpture. For a large ice event, it can take up to a month to prepare.

Step 4: When the ice is completed in the ice shop, careful preparations are made for its transport to the destination where it will be displayed. The location for the display requires many details to be considered such as the outside temperature and sunlight to ensure the ice has the best life for the length of the event.

Featured ice sculpture designs include man on the moon, dinosaur, lizard, llama, pizza slice, golfer and more. Click here for a full list of all 55 ice sculptures and their locations.

Ice Sculpting Demo 2020

On the Ice Hunt

Participate in an ice sculpture scavenger hunt for the chance to win gift cards to City businesses! Follow these steps:

  1. View the ice sculpture map to find the sculpture locations. A printable just-for-fun kids map is also available online.
  2. Scan the QR code on the ice sculpture sign using the camera on your mobile device to be directed to an online form. Complete the form by entering your email. There are also bonus questions/tasks you can complete on select forms to earn extra entries.
  3. Repeat this process for at least 10 ice sculptures to be eligible to win a prize.
    (Pro tip: Use the interactive GIS map found here to find all of the ice sculptures.)

Paw Prints Ice Sculpture  Yoda Ice Sculpture  Beer Mug Ice Sculpture

Eat in the Streets

Eat in the Streets will feature a unique outdoor dining experience on Saturday, March 6 from 12pm – 7pm on Second Street between Locust and Pine Street. Participating restaurants including Arooga’s, Café Fresco, Federal Taphouse, JP Lovedrafts Micropub, Stock’s on 2nd and Zembie’s.

Coffee, Cocoa & Cocktails

While dining, enjoy a themed cocktail such as an “Ice-tini” from Arooga’s, “Snowdrift” from Mangia Qui  & Rubicon, “Baja Cherry Inferno” from Stock’s on Second, Cocktail Freeze pop or Steel Reserve Blue Razz slushy from Zembie’s.

Warm up with a cocoa or coffee beverage to enjoy while viewing the ice sculptures from one of the City’s coffeehouses. Elementary Coffee will offer a “Lady Brigid” iced mint matcha latte with edible glitter. The Fix Café will create 3D latte art of a selfie, ice sculpture photo or image of your choice. A discount on Good Brothas iced coffee and Little Amps hot chocolate and drip coffee of any size will also be available.  

Ice in the 'Burg Drink Specials


Author: Megan Roby

Director of Special Events, City of Harrisburg