Ice Harvest Festival
Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 10am-4pm
Hanford Mills Museum
51 County Highway 12, East Meredith, NY 13757
Enjoy this one-of-a-kind festival that The Wall Street Journal featured as one of the five winter festivals worth the trip!
Did you know that harvesting ice was once an essential part of winter in rural communities? Before there was refrigeration, ice harvested over the winter would be stored in “ice houses” and used to keep food cold during the summer, and also sold to hotels, restaurants and the meat industry in cities. The resulting revenue was an important part of rural economy in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The annual Ice Harvest Festival at Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith, NY, honors this old tradition by allowing visitors to participate in a traditional ice harvest. Attendees can strap on ice cleats and venture onto the frozen mill pond to watch or help as several tons of ice is removed in huge blocks, using antique tools. The ice will be transported by sled and then packed in the Museum’s traditional ice house.
The festival also includes a variety of indoor and outdoor activities such as ice fishing, ice sculpting and blacksmithing demonstrations, horse-drawn sleigh rides, a hot soup buffet featuring soup from local restaurants, bonfires, cooking demonstrations, local farmers and vendors, films of ice harvests in the 1920s-1940s, snowman village, and more. It’s a wonderful day of hands-on history and winter fun!