Brrrr, it’s cold out there! While it’s tempting to hole up with Hulu, there is some fun to be had outside, even without a sled. Many towns in our region are beckoning us outdoors with winter and ice festivals. (Some add in “fire” with a chili cook-off.) So grab the kids and your winter gear and check out these local — or road trip-worthy! — cabin-fever cures.
Reading Fire and Ice Fest
Jan. 12, 5:30-10 p.m.; Jan. 13, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Returning to downtown Reading for its fourth year, the Fire and Ice Fest features indoor and outdoor activities, including a chili cook-off and Snowfall Ball (both on Saturday at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel), professional ice-carving competitions, fire performances, live music, pancake breakfast presented by Genesius Theatre (on Saturday at the Outside In Restaurant), and food stands. All outdoor activities are free, and the chili cook-off, Snowfall Ball, and pancake breakfast will have nominal entry fees.
Saturday, January 13 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Enjoy live music while watching the ice carvers from DiMartino Ice Company work their magic with huge blocks of ice. Make s’mores, sit on the Yeti throne and get your picture taken, spin the wheel for prizes, and more fun. Plus head to the Appell Center for the Performing Arts Capitol Theater at noon and 3 p.m. for one of winter’s all-time best big-screen showings, Disney’s “Frozen.”
Codorus State Park Winter Festival, Hanover
January 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Join the Friends of Codorus for Ice carving, horse-drawn wagon rides, sled dogs, and the Eagle plunge — a dip in the lake. DJ and food vendors will be on hand. Other activities include a children’s craft tent, frozen bologna toss, an obstacle course for kids, and a snowmobile display.
Winter Festival, Lambertville, N.J. and New Hope, PA
Nine days of activities, including the Fire & Ice Ball, pub crawl and karaoke night. Plenty of free family events and activities; free hikes and tours.
Ice Fest, Chambersburg
Thurs. & Fri., 5-8 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun. 12-4 p.m.
Old Capitol Theatre Parking Lot (next to Gartenberg Jewelers)
More than 20 events during a four-day festival including the 9th Annual Snowfall Ball, a scavenger hunt, a 40′ LED lit, double-wide ice slide, chili cook-off, polar dunk lunge, and cake viewing and tasting at Icing on the Cake. Over 70 professional ice sculptures will line Main Street with live ice carving demonstrations Thursday and Friday evenings.
Heart of Lewisburg Ice Festival, Lewisburg
February 2 & 3
Events include a Polar Bear Plunge, a pub crawl and a chocolate festival. Lace up your winter running shoes for the Frosty 5K. Live ice carving demonstrations, music, arts and children’s events.
Ice Art Fest, Carlisle
More than three dozen ice sculptures will be placed around downtown Carlisle for viewing and picture taking. Weekend events include a chili cook-off, dessert bake-off, free movie, horse and carriage rides, and more.
13th Annual Fire and Ice Festival, Lititz
The celebration starts Friday evening with a block party, when the streets close down for live ice sculpting, lit ice sculptures, food trucks and live entertainment. The festival continues Saturday at Warwick High School with a chili cook-off fundraiser, a Winter Wonderland Carnival for kids, and a vendor fair. Ice sculptures will be on display all weekend.
24th Annual Winterfest, Jim Thorpe
February 17 & 18
Take a road trip to Jim Thorpe, the “Switzerland of America,” for a weekend in the mountains. Winterfest activities include train rides through the Lehigh Gorge State Park, free kids-shows at the Mauch Chunk Opera House and ice and wood carvers. You can buy a mug for the Mug Walk fundraiser and collect edible goodies at participating shops.
The RiverRink Winterfest at Penns Landing
Now through March 4
The outdoor rink has been around for 24 years, and the Winterfest is celebrating its fifth season. Lace up your skates (take your own, or rent some there) and skate on the Olympic-size rink overlooking the Delaware River. Plus there’s a ski chalet-style lodge with food and drink, outdoor seating with fire pits, cozy warming cabins, a kids’ lodge with arcade games, festively illuminated lit trees, and more. All winter long.