Enjoy IceFest 2016 & Shake Off The Jonas’ Blues

IceFest 2016 Map

Downtown Chambersburg is ready for the 14th annual IceFest. No need to get stuck in the throes of winter. Get out of the house and enjoy 80 ice sculptures, beginning Thursday, January 28 and running through Sunday, January 31. Live carving by DiMartino Ice is set for Thursday and Friday evening when the giant throne is transformed from clear blocks of ice into the coolest place to have a picture taken. It is an amazing transformation done with chain saws, drills, and blowers.  Downtown Chambersburg glistens with beautifully lit ice sculptures. Twinkling lights fill the trees along the Main Street. It is magical.

Everything kicks off Thursday, January 28, at 5 PM on Memorial Square with an Opening Ceremony and the traditional IceFest Cake. Enjoy a piece of cakes and view live sculpture carving. Take a trip down the double-wide slide on South Main Street, open until 8 PM.  Race a friend!

On Friday evening from 5 PM to 8 PM, carving of the giant sculptures continues, plus the double-wide ice slide is open again. The Snowfall Ball at Central Presbyterian is back for the 7th year, beginning with a dance lesson on the Cha Cha and Foxtrot at 5:30 PM, followed by open dance from 6 PM to 10 PM with a spotlight dance at 8:30 PM.  Watch glass blowing by Glass Routes on North Main Street in the parking area near King Street Church, plus enjoy the glass blowing exhibition at the new location of Council for the Arts, 81 North Main Street.

Saturday starts with The All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast at the Trinity Episcopal Church on South Second Street, 8 AM-11 AM.  At 10 AM, the Ice Slide and Glass Blowing get under way at 10 AM and both go on until 8 PM.  Icing on the Cake, a cake-decorating contest with professional, amateur and student competitions begins at 10 AM and runs until 4 PM. This year’s theme is Super Heroes. Help select the People’s Choice by casting one-dollar votes. Winners announced at 4 PM. Then, everyone gets to eat the cakes.

ArtFest is a long-standing part of IceFest, and it has a new location for 2016 at 102 South Main. Artists share their time and talent in this annual fundraiser to benefit For the Kids of Chambersburg. A canvas is provided, and artists bring their own paints and easels. Space is limited to about 35 artists. It is a fantastic chance to see art come to life. Enjoy music by Joe Blues and ice carving by artist Danny Kissel. Artists begin painting at 8 AM, doors open at  9 AM, artists wrap up their work by 4 PM, and the auction begins at 4:30 PM.

At 11 AM is the centerpiece of Saturday–the Chili Cook-Off–in the large, heated tent just north of the square. Amateur and professionals face-off for the best chili.  Watch out for Dr. Orange’s variety; it is so hot, it has a disclaimer. Plus, anyone attending the chili cook-off can enter the Hot Pepper Eating Contest for a chance to win $100. Voxology, a central Pennsylvania group, will play its custom Americana sounds during the chili cook-off. The Polar Dunk Plunge is noon on Courthouse Plaza, a chilly fundraiser to support Relay For Life and Leadership Franklin County. At 4:30 PM, slip back inside the big, heated tent for this year’s Frozen FlickThe Avengers. Admission is free. Coloring books and crayons are being collected for donation to Heroes for Little Heroes, an organization that takes toys to children in hospitals throughout the year. It is a great family activity.

The Chambersburg Heritage Center, located on the square in the 1915 marble bank building, is open Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM.  It is a beautiful building and a good place to warm up while checking out Franklin County history.  It offers a children’s activity room, walking tour brochures, information about the area, and admission is free.

The Foundry, on the corner of South Main and Queen Streets, is Chambersburg’s new art cooperative. For IceFest 2016, the Foundry is offering open studio time–no fees. Bring an art project and work in the studio during IceFest. It is open on Thursday and Friday from 2 PM to 8:30 PM, Saturday from 9 AM to 8:30 PM, and Sunday from noon to 7:30 PM. Live music on Friday is provided by Evan Crider and on Saturday by Tresa Paul. On exhibit is local artist Alex Swisher, and everyone is invited to participate in a coloring wall with artwork by Nashville artist Valentina Ramos.

Chambersburg’s downtown merchants are welcoming visitors with all types of specials. Duck inside the boutique shops of downtown, warm up, and shop a little. Many merchants have IceFest specials.

Food vendors are arranged around the square, and downtown has a number of restaurants–Molly’s Restaurant , Checkos, Texas Lunch, Cafe d’italia, Main Street Deli, and Bistro 71 to name a few. So, there is the chance to grab and go or sit down to relax and enjoy a meal.

Sunday is the final day of IceFest 2016. The ice slide on South Main and Kids Fun Zone in Chambers Fort Park, just off North Main, open at noon. The Kids Zone has lots of free fun for the kids, including a scavenger hunt, hockey skills demo, and even a little football fun. New this year is the “Run Your Ice Off” 5K. Fee is $25 and race begins at 1:30 PM at Fort Chambers Park.

Throughout IceFest, the Franklin County Old Jail is displaying the 2016 IceFest Art Contest. The theme is “The Hidden History of Franklin County.” The exhibit will be open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM and Sunday from 1 PM to 4 PM.  The entry fee to the exhibit is $1, and all entry fees will be given as prize money to the first, second, and third place projects.

IceFest is a community event, bringing many organizations and civic groups together to create an experience with something for everyone. IceFest is guaranteed to be a great moment in Franklin County. It will shake loose those mid-winter blues.

Corks and Clay Workshop at the Ceramic Arts Center in Waynesboro, PA

Corks and Clay Workshop at the Ceramic Arts Center in Waynesboro, PA

snowman2Frosty the Snowman was a jolly, happy soul…….and he can be yours when you join us at the Ceramic Arts Center, 13 South Church Street, Waynesboro, PA on either January 19th or the 29th  from 6:00-8:00.

Instructor Heather Forberger will guide you step by step as you create your own snowman bowl as you add your personal touch with designs, textures, shapes and glaze of your choice.

The bowl is made from fine quality stoneware clay, which is quite durable and just may last a lifetime!

The workshop’s $30.00 fee includes all materials, glaze and firings. Join us and invite your friends for a night of fun.

The workshop is limited to 10 adult students. Go to www.ceramics-nccs.org to register or contact Mary Ashe-Mahr at 717-404-3190 or waynesboroceramics@gmail.com.

Caning workshop at Renfrew Park

Caning workshop at Renfrew Park


Learn to make a woven cane seat during a three-part workshop on Thursdays, March 3 & 10 from 6:30–8:30 p.m. and on Saturday, March 12 from 9–11 a.m., in the visitors’ center at Renfrew Park. Sponsored by Renfrew Institute, the workshop is open to persons age 15 and older and limited to 10 participants, with pre-registration required.

“For the first time we are offering gift certificates for our workshops,” said Melodie Anderson-Smith, the institute’s executive director. “This would make a great holiday gift for anyone interested in learning a heritage craft like caning.”

Local craftsman, Merri Tabor will provide expert instruction in the art of caning. Tabor has provided caning and rushing services for more than 35 years in her husband’s furniture restoration shop, Golden Eagle Cabinet Shop.

Tabor will guide participants in caning a beautiful footstool. The custom-made stools are high quality, hand-crafted by a local maker and finished except for the addition of the caned seat.

Participants may also bring their own furniture piece to cane instead of buying a stool. Tabor encourages all levels of participation, and will work with each participant individually as well as with the whole group for basic instruction.

The time-honored caning skills and methods taught in the workshop can be used later to replace worn, torn or missing caned seats on vintage chairs—whether family heirloom or flea market treasure. Hand-caned chair seats are beautiful, strong and durable.

The basic workshop fee is $25 for members of Renfrew Institute, $30/non-member. Materials fees are additional, as follows: $65 for the hand–crafted stool; $25 for a caning kit that includes all tools needed, cane and booklet; $17 for cane only, for those with their own tools and who are not buying a footstool.

Participants are required to attend all three 2-hour sessions and may register now. For more information about registration—or gift certificates—call the institute at 717-762-0373, or email to: info@renfrewinstitute.org. More details also at www.renfrewinstitute.org.

Parking is available adjacent to the visitors’ center.

This program is sponsored in part by Marge Kiersz, Lucinda D. Potter, CPA, Smith Elliott Kearns & Co., and by Today’s Horizon Fund Contributors: The Nora Roberts Foundation, APX Enclosures, Inc., and the Carolyn Terry Eddy Family: Carolyn, with daughters Connie Fleagle & Kim Larkin. Facility support provided courtesy of Renfrew Museum and Park.

One-of-a-kind Gift Ideas

Holiday shoppers come in all varieties. Early shoppers are finished in October. Year-round shoppers stow away gifts for friends and family throughout the year. Then, there are the procrastinators—20% of Americans, who wait until the last-minute. With online shopping and next-day delivery, this sort of shopper can now put it off even longer.  But, the majority of holiday shoppers aren’t procrastinating or buying early, they are just trying to figure out the right gift without repeating the same gift every year.  One way to accomplish this is to give the gift of Franklin County. Pair up local products and make a one-of-a-kind gift basket. It is original and made in America.

Holiday Cheer

Franklin County has two wineries—and a brewery, plus five chocolatiers. Pair them together in a Franklin County basket of holiday cheer to make a sweet gift. Get started by picking the basket or container. Use a straw basket, a wicker basket, or a bucket. Lots of containers can be repurposed, and it gives the gift basket a unique touch. As filler use shredded paper. (Reuse and recycle by collecting the cuttings from the big printer at work.) Another unusual filler is the colored comic pages from the newspaper. Tuscarora Winery, 25 Lincoln Way West in Chambersburg, offers 1864 The Burning of Chambersburg—which adds a touch of Franklin County history, too. Jan Zell is Franklin County’s newest winery with a tasting room at 251 Grant Street. A favorite of Jan Zell Wines is Summer Daze—a crabapple and chardonnay blend. Add in the liquid art of Roy Pitz Brewing Company—something like Lay Down Stay Down Ale with dark fruit flavors, spice, figs, toasted plum and nuts and the sweetness of Belgian candi sugar. Add a pair of wine and a pair of pint glasses to the basket. Fill in open spaces of the basket with chocolate from one or more of Franklin County’s small-batch chocolate shops. Make sure to grab some caramels, too, because caramel complements beer. Olympia Candy Kitchen, Nathan Miller Chocolate Co., and Mrs. Gibble’s Candies in Chambersburg or the Candy Kitchen and Zoe’s Chocolate Co. in Waynesboro are chocolate and candy destinations in Franklin County. Wrap the entire gift basket with cellophane or tulle netting and top it off with a Bordeaux-colored bow!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

Pair-up two cold weather favorites—Whitetail Ski Resort and Pachillina. Pachillina, 13 South Main Street in Mercersburg offers natural, organic and eco-friendly clothing, such as wool, pima cotton, linen, bamboo and silk and alpaca.  Natural fibers are better for the wearer and the environment. Pair up gloves, a scarf, and hat with ski passes or a six-pack of tubing tickets from Whitetail Ski Resort. Whitetail, 13805 Blairs Valley Road in Mercersburg is an easy drive from I-70, I-81, and Route 30.  Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a great gift for those active friends and family who appreciate the outdoors.  For a different way to give a lift pass, mount it in a fun frame and tie the hat, gloves, and scarves together in the center with jute twine. Pop everything in a burlap satchel and accent with candy canes.

Apples, Ale & Gouda

Tracey’s Orchard, 12483 Hollowell Church Road, Greencastle, is open through Christmas and is a great place to pick-up apples for gift baskets. Granny Smith, Jonagold, Gala, Pink Lady and Fugi are just a few varieties available. Plus, there is still cider. Whispering Brook Cheese Haus, 8875 Edenville Cheesetown Rd, Chambersburg, specializes in homemade, small batch cheese, like Gouda and seriously sharp cheddar. Pick a few varieties of cow and goat milk cheeses. For the ale, visit Good Ta Go, 1640 Orchard Drive in Chambersburg, for the largest selection of microbrews, imports, and domestics in the tri-state area. Arrange the apples, cheese, and ale in a soft cooler, accent with pine cones, and a gold bow for a one-of-a-kind gift.

Adding Martin’s Potato Rolls, made on Potato Roll Lane in Chambersburg, gives any gift basket the flavor of Franklin County. Try adding home-baked whoopee pies from the Butcher Shoppe in Chambersburg, apple butter from Paul’s Country market, or a smoked ham from Eby’s Meats, 3789 Guilford Springs Road in Chambersburg. Treat friends and family to a taste of Franklin County.

Rotary Club of Mercersburg Helps Make Christmas Happy For Area’s Children

This Christmas, while most kids will experience the excitement of opening gifts left by Santa, some of our neighbors’ children may not be so fortunate. That’s why Santa’s Toy Box, a program conducted by the Rotary Club of Mercersburg, is so critical.

This year will mark the fifteenth year that the Rotary Club will deliver gifts to needy children in the Tuscarora area. The Mercersburg Jaycees initiated the program in 1971 and turned it over to Rotary fifteen years ago.
Liza Main, Cheryl Gehr and David Bell are the project’s co-chairs. According to Mrs. Main in 1991 seventy-four children received gifts and a little less than $5,000 was donated to the project. Last year, 305 children from 128 area families received gifts through Santa’s Toy Box.

“While the size of the project has grown considerably the basic project has not,,” said Liza Main. Every holiday season, the Rotary Club of Mercersburg raises funds to help buy clothes and toys for children in the Tuscarora School District who might otherwise not have a very merry Christmas. Each year the number of families helped has grown with gifts given to more than three hundred children. This year’s project is now underway and parents have already signed up for the program.

Local businesses and members of the Mercersburg community give the funds for this Rotary project which we call Santa’s Toy Box. Eighty dollars is spent on each and every child. One half of the money is spent on clothes and one half is spent on toys. The Rotarians shop for ALL the clothes and toys selected especially for each child by their parent or parents. Each child receives at least five gifts. The Rotary Club of Mercersburg purchases all of the wrapping paper, gift tags and tape to wrap the gifts. The Rotarians also make personal donations to the Santa’s Toy Box fund. The Rotarians wrap all the gifts (over 1,000 in 2014 alone) with the help of the 9th grade students from the Mercersburg Academy. The Sunday before Christmas (December 20th) six Rotarians will don a Santa suit and travel throughout the school district to deliver the gifts directly to the children in their homes.

Mrs. Main also recognized the remarkable support the project receives from local businesses and individual donors. “This is truly a cooperative program,” she said, “that affords the community as a whole a mechanism for demonstrating its compassion and generosity to hundreds of children.”
2015 statistics:

148 families will be helped in the Tuscarora School District

361 children will receive toys clothes (2,585 total students in the Tuscarora School District)

Member of the community and local business (130+) have donated have donated over $20,000 to support the project so far this year this year

Over 100 students from the Mercersburg Academy will help wrap the over 2000 gifts in two hours

10 Santa’s will deliver the gifts to each child’s door on December 20th

Gifts will be wrapped on December 9th at 7:00p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Mercersburg, 11 North Fayette Street, Mercersburg, PA 17236