Have An Ice Weekend!


In downtown Chambersburg, Corning Credit Union (CCU) shows their snowman design.

During the winter season, the snow covers the ground and the bitter cold fills the air. As the month of February begins, sculptors start to prepare for an upcoming event in Chambersburg: Ice Fest. This event allows sculptors to show off their artistic skills as they carve their designs into ice blocks, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Before any carving can begin, there has to be ice blocks. Days before Ice Fest, sculptors have to supply themselves with their own ice. They have special machines called Clinebells which shapes the blocks of ice.

“Each Clinebell makes 2 of the 300-pound blocks, which takes about three days to make one,” said apprentice Seanna Cookus. “There is a motor inside of the clinebells that keeps the water going. They keep moving the ice each day so that you can get a clear block of ice. If you don’t have the pump and the motor running then you get cloudy blocks, which can break really easy.”

Once the sculptors have the ice, they can finally begin their creations. The amount of time it takes to make an ice sculpture depends on the amount of ice they plan on using.

“Ice sculptures can take from fifteen minutes to days,” said Mitch Schrader, an experienced ice sculptor.  “It all depends on what I’m carving and how much detail there is in the design.” 

MItch Schrader working hard as he completes his swan throne design.

For Schrader, he decided to remake an Ice Swan Throne that he designed back in 1987. He started carving at 5:15 on Thursday, January 31 and planned on having it done later that evening.          

Besides Schrader, there were other sculptors who were also beginning their masterpieces. Some businesses in the Chambersburg Area were starting to display their ice sculptures that other sculptors made.

Northwood Books was one of many businesses who sponsored an ice sculpture for Ice Fest.

When it comes to carving the ice, there can be some problems that affect their designs. Nonetheless, the sculptors find a way to persevere through them.

“Temperature is our biggest enemy,” said Cookus. “When it starts to warm up, it’s not as easy to carve because the ice can crack really easily.”

At Ice Fest, sculptors cannot wait to see how their designs will turn out. Even though it takes time for a block of ice to transform into a masterpiece, the long haul pays off in the end.

“I like interacting with the people and make people happy, especially little kids, ” said Schrader. “I’ll usually always stop if the kids are five or under, and they are showing interest in [the sculpture] and interact with them”

In the end, many people come together to see the ice sculptures and interact with others for a time of laughter and enjoyment.