Update: Due to unsafe river conditions, Saturday's Polar Bear Plunge that is part of the
Heart of Lewisburg Ice Festival has been cancelled. All other events are still on.
Lewisburg, Union County- The weekend forecast promises perfect weather for the Heart of Lewisburg Ice Festival, Friday and Saturday, February 1 and 2, with mid-30 degree temperatures and intermittent sun. Not so cold that kids won't want to play winter games in the park and not so warm as to melt the ice sculptures before people have a chance to look them over. That forecast is a welcome one. The weekend is packed with events.
One event, Warm Your Heart--Pets In Need, has been growing in popularity since it began several years ago. During the festival, Brushstrokes Gallery at 340 Market Street accepts needed items and funds for several of the local shelters and rescues. "People love to do whatever they can to help pets in need," said Kathy Snyder, organizer of the event. Brushstrokes will also be open on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. to give people more time to drop off their donations.
Ice carving on the giant sculpture in Hufnagle Park starts on Friday in the park. This year, the sculpture will be based on a polar bear, the mascot for the successful Polar Bear Plunge, where less-adventuresome spectators can watch extremely adventuresome participants take an icy dip into the Susquehanna River at 2 p.m. at the St. George Street Landing. People can register on the day of the event starting at 12:30 at the site. The Plunge has become so successful that the proceeds from the event can pay for the large sculpture carved onsight in the park. This sculpture will be designed so that children of all ages can play on it or around it, to fit in with the Children's Winter Games in the Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. New to the winter games this year will be painting with ice cubes, sponsored by the Downtown Gallery.
The one-block sculptures for the festival are carved in advance at the First Night Ice Sculptures ice house and delivered on Friday. Each year, the sculptors pick a theme for the show: This year, the one-block sculptures will focus on history in honor of this year's Union County's Bicentennial, but with a lot of animals thrown in the mix, since those are a favorite of the families. Also on Friday is the A Cappella Festival featuring Bucknell's premier a cappella groups at 5:30 p.m. at the Campus Theatre. A suggested donation of $5 will benefit PACES Bucknell. Downtown businesses will be open until 8 pm Friday evening.
In addition to the children's games in the park and the Polar Bear Plunge, Saturday brings a pancake breakfast, the Frosty 5K race footrace, the Frosty Kettle chili cook-off, and the annual Chocolate Lover's Festival for adults and Cocoa Fest for kids. The Weis Center for the Performing Arts is sponsoring two special events, a performance by Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca, Spain's most popular flamenco touring company, Friday at 8 p.m. and a free family presentation of "Ugly Duckling and Tortoise and the Hare, " which brings classic fables to life at 3:00 p.m., both at the Weis Center. Campus Theatre is presenting a free screening of "Ground Hog Day" on Ground Hog Day, Saturday, February 2 at 4 p.m.
"One of my favorite things about the Ice Festival, is the way so many businesses and organizations come together to participate in the event," said Linda Sterling, Executive Director of the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership, who organizes the event. In addition to those already mentioned, Sunset Evening Rotary sponsors the 5K, the Chili Cook-Off and the Children's Games; Penn State Extension -Youth Development helps out on the children's games. Bucknell's Office of Civic Engagement and its student volunteers organize the Polar Bear Plunge. The Donald Heiter Community Center organizes the Chocolate Lover's Festival and Cocoa-Fest, the Lewisburg Lions Club the Pancake Breakfast. Bucknell's service group, P.A.C.E.S., organizes the A Cappella Festival and volunteers in various ways to support the festival in return for a donation from the LDP
"The P.A.C.E.S group amazes me," said Sterling. "These students are incredibly dedicated to their cause." P. A.C.E.S. is a student-led service organization of about 20 students that travels down to the Dominican Republic over spring break to volunteer and provide aid. The group also fundraises through the year to purchase supplies needed for the trip.
For more information on these events, go to www.lewisburgpa.com or call the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership at 570-523-1743. The Lewisburg Downtown Partnership brings together diverse community interests and resources to promote the economic vitality, architectural heritage, and cultural vibrancy of the downtown commercial district for the benefit of the greater Lewisburg area.