Despite some drizzle and temperatures above freezing, sales were brisk for downtown businesses during Chambersburg’s 18th annual IceFest.
Photo Credit: MrPhab Photos. Caption: Child touching giant sculpture at IceFest 2020.
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Despite some drizzle and temperatures above freezing, sales were brisk for downtown businesses during Chambersburg’s 18th annual IceFest.
Held Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, the event meant to combat the mid-winter blahs featured ice sculptures, a dance, chili cook-off, glass-blowing demonstrations, cake-decorating contest, ice slide and Run Your Ice Off 5K. The activities brought plenty of people downtown to shop in the eclectic mix of businesses there.
I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of traffic the store had, especially Saturday. Sales were definitely up,” said Kendra Matusiak, who opened REmix Design in July 2019 at 107 N. Main St.
Ice Fest fell on a weekend that she typically is not open, but she opted to join in the festivities so the public could browse through her merchandise, including stones and crystals, plants and furniture. Her sales receipts showed it was worth the effort.
“Most people who came in were buying plants and crystals,” Matusiak said. “I also had lots of furniture sales, which surprised me. I thought new shoppers would be buying smaller items.”
She guessed that about half of the people who came in the store over the three days she was open were visiting for the first time.
”It was so energizing seeing the town filled with activity,” Matusiak said. “With all the new businesses in town, and more people visiting, I foresee full sidewalks as a new normal for downtown Chambersburg.”
Jennifer and Tom Davis have experienced seven IceFests at The Garage Studios, three at its current 102 S. Main St. location.
“As the event grows, traffic has grown considerably,” Jennifer Davis said. “We are so blessed to have some amazing events in our downtown that support the growth of business and enhance the beauty of our small town.”
Photo Credit: MrPhab Photos. Caption: Joe DiMartino poses for a picture while cutting a giant ice sculpture.
Davis said sales are always up during special activities like IceFest, where top sellers are glass icicles and ornaments. Tom leads glass-blowing classes as part of the studio’s unique offerings, which also include Jennifer’s jewelry studio, art, vintage items and treasures sold by friend Mark Miller, who owns Gypsie.
“The traffic from this weekend is mind-boggling as a small-business owner,” said Jennifer, adding that help from Miller and their daughters, AimeeBeth and Maggie, is crucial to their success. “We get amazing exposure, and that is something that brings people back. We also provide music and Tom blows glass the whole weekend, starting on Thursday. By Sunday, we are exhausted in a beautiful way.”
Scott Vorhees has seen business pick up at Bistro 71 during the last five IceFests. The owner and operator of the eatery at 71 N. Main St. said it has a loyal customer base, so, other than the businesses who rent the second-floor space for parties during the event, they don’t see a lot of new faces, just more at the same time.
Vorhees, whose business partner is his brother, Nick Broadwater, appreciates how IceFest boosts local business.
“Any reason to come downtown is a good one,” he said.
Photo Credit: MrPhab Photos. Caption: Todd Shearer, M&T Bank and Penny Shaul, IceFest Committee Chair at IceFest 2020 Ribbon Cutting on Thursday, January 30th.
Penny Shaul, chairwoman of the IceFest Committee for at least the last eight years, said organizers aim to keep things fresh to give people more reasons to come to Chambersburg.
“We really strive to bring new events and more sculptures to IceFest,” Shaul said.
“There’s a lot of things for different types of people to see,” many of which are free.
DiMartino Ice Co. of Jeannette, Pa., carved were more than 70 ice sculptures of varying sizes and shapes for this year’s event. New to IceFest was a cornhole tournament, which was meant to be outdoors, but was moved indoors to the second floor of Main Street Deli because of inclement weather. Some of the proceeds from the competition benefited the Redneck Outlaws, a local organization that helps cancer patients and their families. The other beneficiaries were Council for the Arts, the Downtown Business Council and Downtown Chambersburg Inc., for whom the festival as a whole raises funds.
Photo Credit: MrPhab Photos. Caption: Streetscape scene at IceFestPA 2020
Downtown Chambersburg Inc. President Sam Thrush said the cornhole organizers were pleased by the turnout for the inaugural cornhole competition - 15 teams of two people each - and plan for it to return next year.
As owner of Here’s Looking at You, a women’s clothing store at 123 S. Main St., Shaul said she reaps the rewards of the crowds at IceFest months after the sculptures have melted. January is typically her slowest month, when such an event is most needed.
While it is difficult to count attendance, the four-day extravagance was thought to estimated to be well over 12,000 people strolling downtown Chambersburg.
“It’s great to have that many people walk past your door,” Shaul said.
It’s common for women to stop by in late winter or early spring, telling her they saw her business during IceFest, but they were with their children and/or husbands, or they had on too many layers and didn’t want to shed them to try on clothes.
Organizers expanded the marketing area outside Chambersburg because the festival features activities that attract varied audiences. The borough already has plenty of history, restaurants, art galleries, shops and hotels to offer, so big events are the icing on the cake.
“I think it kind of helps give people a reason to come to Chambersburg,” Shaul said.
The presenting sponsor for this year’s IceFest was M&T Bank.
Complete list of LED lighting & ice sponsors:
2020 LED LIGHTING SPONSOR:
Franklin County Visitors Bureau
2020 GIANT SCULPTURE SPONSORS:
Borough of Chambersburg
David H. Martin Excavating Inc.
DiLoreto, Cosentino & Bolinger, PC
JLG Industries, Inc.
Patriot Federal Credit Union
The Athlete's Edge
Volvo Construction Equipment
2020 SINGLE BLOCK SCULPTURE SPONSORS:
11/30 Visitors Center
AA Bail Bonds
Abel Castro-State Farm
AE Bounce House
Art Sign Company of Chambersburg
Bartlett Tree Experts
BCM Payroll Services, Inc./Korey Paff State Farm Agent
Bear Hugs from Lisa
Bistro 71/Norland Pub/Norland Grille
Boost Mobile by CPA Wireless
Boyer & Ritter LLC
Bridget's Beach House LLC Myrtle Beach
Central Presbyterian Church
Chambersburg Animal Hospital
Chambersburg Noontime Lions Club
Chambersburg Waste Paper Company
Charles Nitterhouse VFW Post 1599
Cline Collision Repair
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
CCU Corning Credit Union
Country Inn & Suites
Cumberland Valley Tree Service-Landscaping
Dennis E. Black Engineering, Inc.
Dental Solutions of Chambersburg
Edward Jones, Cindy Wolf, Rod Salter, John Reinert
Flamingo Family Restaurant, LLC
Frank B. Lesher Company
Franklin County Cyclists
Franklin County Free Press
Gabler Trucking, Inc.
Gardens by Grace/Here's Looking at You
Goldfish Barn Events Center
Hoskinson Wenger & Rife Law Offices / Shoap Law Offices
i360 Property Management
J&B Bridals & Tuxedos
Johnston's Heating & Cooling,LLC (4)
Kegerreis Outdoor Advertising
Kristian F. Frank CFP Merrill Lynch
Lady Moon Farms
Lehman's Carpet Cleaning & Flooring Sales
Lyons and Company
M&T Bank (2)
Main Street Tax Service
Mann Plumbing & Heating
Martin & Martin Inc./Plummer Engineering
Martin's Famous Potato Rolls and Bread
McCalmont Burial Vault Co.
McCleary Heating & Cooling LLC
McCleary Oil Co.
Menno Haven Retirement Community
Merle Norman Cosmetics/Here's Looking at You
Montezuma Mexican Restaurant
Mr. Phab Photos
Nitterhouse Masonry Hardware & Supply
Noelker and Hull Associates, Inc.
Olympia Candy Kitchen
Pediatric Therapy Specialists of SCPA, LLC
Person Directed Supports, Inc (2)
R.A. Hill Inc.
Ralph E. Tolbert Masonry
RE/MAX Realty Agency
Rotary Club of Chambersburg
Salzmann Hughes P.C.
SEK CPAs & Advisors
Shalom Christian Academy
Snavelys Garden Corner
Southgate Shopping Center/Paran Management Company Ltd.
Stouffer Mechanical Contractor LLC (3)
Stouffers Auto Repair LLC
Strickler Agency, Inc.
The Barrows Sollenberger Group, PC/Barrows Trostle Advisors, LLC
The Gift Enclosure/Another Man's Treasure
The Pineapple Group
United Automotive Service Center
Valley Agency Company
Vinnie’s on 11
Wenger & Myers Insurance
William F. Sellers Funeral Home
Wilson College (2)
For more information about Downtown Chambersburg Inc, go to www.downtownchambersburgpa.com or call 717-264-7101. To learn about sponsorships for 2021 Ice Fest, email firstname.lastname@example.org