There aren’t many places where you can find a chili cook-off, a performance by characters from the movie “Frozen” and an ice sculpture of Betty White, but you can at the Havre de Grace Ice Festival.
The festival is returning for its fourth year on Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m.
“This weekend is really perfect if you could just bundle up and put on those mittens and scarves,” said Bambi Johnson, the executive director of the Havre de Grace Alliance, organizer of the event. “This ice will last and be beautiful for two days, and it’s all lit up at night.”
The festival features ice sculptures inspired by this year’s theme: Heroes & Villains. Big draws among the sculpture lineup include Spider Man, Captain America and Darth Vader, in addition to real-life people such as the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and local Havre de Grace legend John O’Neill.
The festival features ice-carving demonstrations, ice-carved cornhole boards, local vendors and artisans, an outdoor hot toddy garden run by MacGregor’s Restaurant, and several other activities.
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Kids also will have the chance to dress as their favorite prince or princess for Sunday’s Ice Parade, where one will be crowned the festival’s Ice Prince/Princess.
The festival is free, but certain events require tickets. The chili cook-off , 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday is $10, but you receive a souvenir mini crock pot as you sample and vote on the chili from several local restaurants. The “Elsa & Friends Live!” performances at the Opera House are $7 for adults and $5 for kids under 14. Masks are required.
Last year’s festival was pushed back to March due to COVID-19 and, as a result, the ice sculptures had melted to “nubs” by Sunday, according to Johnson. But with cold weather forecast for this weekend, that shouldn’t be a problem.
The ice sculptures are paid for by local restaurants and shops, and underwritten by sponsors such as the local Vandiver Inn and Harford Community College. The sculptures were designed by the Glen Burnie-based Ice Lab.
“It takes a village, and this village jumps on board,” Johnson said.
More information can be found on the festival’s Facebook page.