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Harrisburg will host COVID-19-safe 'Ice in the Burg' festival this weekend; here's what you need to know

The annual Ice & Fire Festival has been modified for COVID-19 safety, but it will feature 55 large and small ice sculptures for viewing at locations across the city.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Note: The video above is from the modified Lititz Fire & Ice Festival held last month. 

Harrisburg's annual Ice & Fire Festival will return this weekend, albeit with a new name and format to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the city said Wednesday.

Much like the modifications made to the Fire & Ice Festival in Lititz, Lancaster County last month, Harrisburg's annual ice sculpture event has been tweaked to ensure its visitors can enjoy viewing 55 large and small ice sculptures spread across the city while staying safe.

Now called "Ice in the Burg," the modified event will be held Friday through Sunday. The sculptures will be available for viewing at City Island, Downtown, Midtown, Italian Lake, Shipoke, and Reservoir Park, according to organizers.

“M&T Bank is again honored to partner with the City of Harrisburg to bring this year’s festival to the community,” said Nora Habig, M&T’s regional president for Central and Western Pennsylvania. “The name of the festival might have changed this year, but we know the event will again serve as an important way to celebrate our community and support local businesses.” 

Due to COVID-19 safety concerns, the festival will not feature all of its normal attractions, like the ice slide, the skating rink, the live artist market, stage performances, or the firepit lounge, organizers said.

What it will have are ice sculptures -- and a  lot of them.

Ice sculpture designs this year include the Italian Lake duck, man on the moon, Broad Street Market logo, Capitol dome, Shipoke Sheena, dinosaur and carousel horse, according to organizers.

The event begins Friday with a drive-thru experience on City Island from 7-9 p.m. This experience will feature 14 illuminated ice sculptures, live ice carving, Frozen characters, stilt walker, musician Dave McCullough and Susquehanna Dance Academy performance. 

All attendees must remain in their vehicles for the drive-thru experience -- no bicycles or walkers will be permitted, according to organizers. 

The ice sculptures featured in the drive-thru will also be available on Saturday and Sunday.  

On Saturday, ice sculptures will be available for viewing at locations across the city from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The ice sculptures will be illuminated from 7-9 p.m.

Eat in the Streets will feature a unique outdoor dining experience from noon to 7 p.m. on Second Street. Participating restaurants include Arooga’s, Federal Taphouse, JP Lovedrafts Micropub, Stocks on 2nd and Zembie’s. 

Themed cocktails will also be available, or attendees can warm up with a cocoa or coffee beverage while viewing the sculptures.

On Sunday, ice sculptures will be available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

The sculptures will remain in place until they melt.

An interactive map with GPS coordinates to all sculptures is also available on the event website

Those who participate in the festival can join an ice sculpture scavenger hunt for a chance to win gift cards from participating Harrisburg businesses. COVID-19 safety measures like social distancing markings and face covering requirements will be in place.

Wearing a mask is required when sustained physical distancing cannot be maintained per state mandates, organizers said.

“We are very excited to provide a safe and free outdoor event,” said Harrisburg mayor Eric Papenfuse. “We look forward to bringing ice sculptures to neighborhoods throughout the City this year, which will allow families to get outside for fresh air and exercise while enjoying the ice art.”  

Parking and road closures

  • City Island – free parking on City Island  
  • Downtown 
    • $10 daily parking at the Market Square Garage, courtesy of Park Harrisburg  
    • Street parking is free after 5pm on Saturday in designated Downtown areas and free all day on Sunday. Get 4 hours of free Downtown street parking using the code “LUVHBG” on the Parkmobile app before 5pm on Saturday. 
    • Walnut and Chestnut Street garages will be open. 
  • Italian Lake – Free parking in the parking lots at 3rd and Shamokin St, courtesy of Zembo Shrine. 
  • Midtown  
    • Free parking in the Greenworks Development #2 and #4 parking lots at Reily & Logan St.  
    • Free parking in the Benjamin Franklin Elementary School parking lot at 1205 N 6th St.  
    • Metered street parking is also available. 
  • Reservoir Park – free parking in the parking lot on Reservoir Drive. 
  • Shipoke – metered street parking is available. The Market Square parking garage is within ½ mile.  
  • Road closures – 2nd Street will be closed from Locust to Pine Streets on Saturday, March 6 from 10am – 9pm for outdoor street dining.  

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