Warming Hearts in the Cold: Carlisle Ice Art Fest 2022 (Photos)

Click on “Gallery” above to see some of the featured sculptures from this year’s event. 

Despite the below-freezing temperatures, many came to Downtown Carlisle throughout the weekend to view the 90 sculptures unveiled for the 6th Annual UPMC Ice Art Fest. The event began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb 4 and festivities continued on Feb 6 and 7. As in years past, the event was free and no tickets were required for the event.

All of the sculptures lining the streets this year and in previous years can be attributed to Philadelphia-based Ice Concepts. In order to receive a sculpture, Carlisle businesses design the sculptures they would like, then purchase them for display during the festival.

Not only is the event great for family fun, but it also brings people into local shops and restaurants, creating a buzz during a typically quiet time of year. For example, The American Artisan Gallery hosted a winter blowout sale, with 10% off most items.

Click on the blue markers to learn more about each of the locations featured in our article/gallery. 

A new business, Carlisle Creative Vibes, took this opportunity to hold their grand opening, having their ribbon-cutting ceremony during the peak hours of the festival. According to their website, they are “an eclectic community of artists and creators” that offer services like a holistic healing room as well as sell candles, clothing, crystals, and so much more. Their regular hours are 11 A.M. through 6 P.M. Tuesday through Saturday.

The Billingsley family, who are regulars to the event, said that their “favorite part of Ice Fest is the Baby Yoda statue” which was featured outside of Create-A-Palooza as a part of fundraising efforts for the Charles Bruce Foundation and the Carlisle Tool Library. As long as those who arrived gave a donation of any value to either charity, they had the opportunity to fire a Nerf gun at one of the volunteers who were dressed up as a LEGO stormtrooper, Han Solo frozen in carbonite, and a Mandalorian.

Pop culture icons seemed to be a favorite for many visitors.

“I really liked the sculpture at Miss Ruth’s Time Bomb of Betty White,” said CHS senior Natalie O’Neill who checked out the festival with family and friends.

When you wanted to take a break from looking at the unique sculptures, there were other activities you could take part in as well. A crowd favorite was the carriage and wagon rides hosted by Benchfield Farms.

Meg Enslin, one of the proud owners of the farm, explained that they have been renting the horses out for rides in the area for about eight years. The thing that brings her out to face the cold every year is the idea of “sharing the horses with the community”.

Other organizations and storefronts provided opportunities to seek refuge from the cold. The Carlisle Theatre Center experienced a visit from the Enchanted Teapot Ice Characters, accompanied by a chance to drink some hot chocolate. The Carlisle Arts Learning Center housed a “Go for the Gold” member exhibit available for viewing on Feb 4 and 5 as well.

For more about future events in downtown Carlisle, check out LoveCarlisle.com.

Did you check out Ice Fest this year? Tell us your favorite ice sculptures in the comments below and you could win a free t-shirt!