BREAKING ICE: Downtown Utica hosts ice festival


Evan Gray, Online Editor

After the success of expanding its Christmas Tree Lighting event, the city of Utica is doing it again. The annual Ice Festival returns in 2018 with several additions to its calendar.

Held throughout the downtown area, Utica’s Ice Festival will be held Feb. 9 – 11. The three-day event opens Friday with student and professional ice carving, ice skating, live music and the countdown to the Burning Ice Tower.

“I’m going to go on Friday, and if it’s fun I will go Saturday, too,” sophomore Andrijana Dimitrijevic said. “Hopefully it is a good time; I’m looking forward to having fun.

The activities continue Saturday at noon with a carousel, giant slide and face painting. From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. local students will participate in the Amateur Ice Carving Contest. Mascots from the United Shore Professional Baseball League will be circulating throughout the crowd, participating in meet-and-greets. Ice skating will also be available throughout the day.

“Me and a couple friends are going to go check it out,” junior Ben Mcintyre said. “It sounds fun, but we’ll see what it’s all about when we get there.”

Residents believe that another big draw will be the Food Truck Rally from noon to 4 p.m.

“Utica hosted a few food truck rallies last summer,” teacher and downtown Utica resident Stacy Smale said. “There were hundreds of people there, because there was a wide variety of food to try out. They were really fun, so I expect this will be even better with everything else going on at the same time, too.”

From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Elsa and the Snow Queen from Disney’s Frozen will be visiting the USPBL’s AAA Clubhouse, where they will be available for everything from handshakes to selfies. While American Band performs outside of the stadium, Frozen will be shown on the Jumbotron scoreboard at 6 p.m.

Even though Utica has expanded the number of activities for this year’s fest, the traditional Saturday night fireworks show will still return at 8:20, which organizers say can be seen “throughout the city.”

“The show really is spectacular,” Smale said. “I watched the show last year, and I couldn’t believe how long the show was. I’m expecting this year’s show to be even better.”

With the success of the horse-drawn carriage rides at the tree lighting, the rides will return for the Ice Festival.

Another new addition is the Ice Love Throne, where advertisements encourage participants to take a selfie.

“I don’t know what day I want to go yet, but I’m gonna end up going,” junior Ellie Peplinski said. “I’m almost certain it will be a good time, so I am excited.”

For more information, visit the city’s Ice Festival events page.