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CHAMBERSBURG - More than 15,000 people are expected to visit downtown Chambersburg for dancing, dining and fun, while marveling at 80 ice sculptures twinkling along the sidewalks of Main Street. It’s the 14th Annual IceFest in downtown Chambersburg - one of the largest winter festivals in Pennsylvania.

The four-day winter festival draws thousands of people to downtown Chambersburg annually. This year’s festival will be from Thursday, Jan. 28 through Sunday, Jan. 31 with more ice and larger sculptures than ever, bringing in more than 20 tons of ice.

There will be a brand-new ice feature this year for IceFest, something that probably won't happen again for another 20 years. Look for it at the ribbon-cutting on Thursday and throughout the festival.

“Attracting over 15,000 visitors to our downtown, IceFest has a major impact on our tourism dollars and improving quality of life for local residents,” said Noel Purdy, president of Downtown Chambersburg Inc., in a press release announcing the event. “IceFest is a great community event that also benefits the local economy, including downtown businesses, hotels, restaurants and more.”

Penny Shaul, owner of the downtown store Here’s Looking At You and IceFest committee member, said, “IceFest is definitely a boost to sales for downtown merchants, which is why many of us try to take advantage of the crowds by offering specials and expanding hours during the festival.”

Ice sculptures featured during the festival, sponsored by local businesses, will be comprised of 68 single blocks and 12 giant sculptures including the IceFest throne and the double-wide ice slide. In all, 80 sculptures will be on display. The giant ice sculptures will be carved in front of visitors’ eyes by DiMartino Ice Company from 5-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

In addition to the ice sculptures and live ice carvings, this year’s IceFest has the largest number of events scheduled in the history of the festival. Two new events have been added – a glass blowing demonstration and a 5K run/walk. Other events held during IceFest include the Snowfall Ball, Chili Cook-Off, Icing on the Cake, Polar Dunk Plunge and more. See the full schedule at www.icefestpa.com, or in the Public Opinion's Thursday, Jan. 28, edition of Weekender.

Chambersburg’s IceFest has become a regional destination event that people look forward to annually. Visitors come from Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., York County and more. Special hotel packages are available during IceFest at the Holiday Inn Express (717-709-9009) and Country Inn & Suites (717-261-0900). Guests should ask for the IceFest special.

IceFest is an important community fundraiser for three local nonprofits: Chambersburg Council for the Arts, the Downtown Business Council and Downtown Chambersburg Inc. The Borough of Chambersburg assists with coordination of the event, and M&T Bank is the presenting sponsor for the ninth consecutive year.

For more information, visit www.icefestpa.com.

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