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Havre de Grace Ice Festival organizers watching weather ahead of second annual event

"Elsa" poses for photos during the first Fire and Ice Festival in downtown Havre de Grace on Saturday, January 19, 2019.
"Elsa" poses for photos during the first Fire and Ice Festival in downtown Havre de Grace on Saturday, January 19, 2019. (Alan White / For Baltimore Sun Media Group)

A snowy day Saturday would create an ideal setting for the events of the second annual Havre de Grace Ice Festival, although organizers are still monitoring weather reports closely as a mixture of rain and snow is predicted for the first full day of the festival.

“We are an all-weather event, and some snow would be lovely,” Bambi Johnson, executive director of the Havre de Grace Alliance, said Wednesday.

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The Alliance, a nonprofit organization, is coordinating the Ice Festival for the second consecutive year.

Downtown Havre de Grace is slated to be filled with ice sculptures in front of many businesses, along with a number of events for adults and children, such as shows featuring Elsa and other characters from Disney’s hit film series “Frozen,” ice-carving demonstrations, live music, movies, corn hole boards — both wooden and made of ice — a chili cook off, hot wing competition, cooking of s’mores and many more attractions.

The festival starts Friday with a “Cocktail Kindle” party at the Vandiver Inn, and the majority of events are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Johnson noted “it’s going to take a lot” to cancel events Saturday, since hotels in the city are booked full, but organizers will cancel that day if the weather creates conditions that are too dangerous for people to drive.

“A lot of people are really counting on [the festival] to happen,” Johnson said.

Partly cloudy weather is predicted for Sunday, with temperatures in the high 30s, according to the National Weather Service . Festival organizers plan to hold Saturday’s events on Sunday, combining them with activities already scheduled for Sunday, if they must cancel, according to Johnson.

Organizers will make a decision about canceling Friday afternoon. An announcement will be posted on the Explore Havre de Grace website and The Havre de Grace Ice Festival Facebook page, Johnson said.

People can visit the Facebook page for updates on the festival, a full schedule of events and a map showing the locations of each ice sculpture.

Johnson said she expects attendance will be even better than last year, based on interactions with online visitors, noting there have been more than 100,000 engagements with the festival event page on Facebook and that about 6,000 Facebook users have said via the social network that they plan to attend.

Two live Elsa & Friends shows, scheduled for Sunday afternoon at The Cultural Center at the Opera House in downtown Havre de Grace, have been sold out, Johnson added.

“We’re ready for everybody; we just have to see what Mother Nature is going to decide to do,” she said.

Visit Harford, the county’s tourism marketing organization, is the primary sponsor of the Ice Festival. Johnson said the festival “would not be possible, financially, without” their support, which makes it possible to offer so many events for free — some fees will be charged for events such as the live Elsa show and the chili cook-off, however.

“It’s just a really nice community event that gets people out in the dead of winter, gives them something to do,” Johnson said.

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