On Saturday, February 4th, Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith, NY, will be hosting what is easily the region's coolest tradition: the annual Ice Harvest Festival! This fun, family-friendly event features a variety of indoor and outdoor activities that celebrate the old rural tradition of ice harvesting.
Ice harvests were once an essential part of winter in rural communities. Before there was refrigeration, ice was needed to preserve agricultural products and to keep food cold in the warmer months. At the Ice Harvest Festival, visitors will be able to get a hands-on look back at the tradition. Using historic tools and techniques, they can cut and maneuver blocks of ice from the Mill Pond, and then transport the blocks to the ice house by sled. (Fun fact: the ice harvested at the festival will be used to make ice cream at the Hanford Mills Independence Day Celebration in July.)
Other activities at the festival include 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 including Byebrook Farm (Gouda cheese) and PromisedLand Farm (handknit Swedish style mittens and hats), films of ice harvests in the 1920s-1940s, a snowman village, and more. It’s a wonderful day of celebrating history and winter!
Ice Harvest Festival
Saturday, February 4th from 10am to 4pm
Hanford Mills Museum
51 County Highway 12
East Meredith, NY 13757