Rich Howells

PHOTOS/VIDEOS: Inaugural Scranton Ice Festival with live music, 02/05-06/21

PHOTOS/VIDEOS: Inaugural Scranton Ice Festival with live music, 02/05-06/21
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The ongoing pandemic has put a major strain on small businesses, and the cold and snowy weather hasn’t helped much lately. Last weekend, however, neither seemed to be a factor as downtown Scranton was bustling with activity thanks to the Scranton Ice Festival.

This inaugural event came together quickly as the Scranton Area Community Foundation, First Friday Scranton, Scranton Tomorrow, the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, and community volunteers worked together to organize and place detailed ice sculptures on practically every block.

Tired of staying isolated at home, hundreds of masked spectators walked around on Friday, Feb. 5 through Sunday, Feb. 7, snapping pictures with the temporary artwork and forming socially distanced lines in various storefronts for the first time in months. The Saturday afternoon sun quickly took its toll on the intricate details of the sculptures, which included everything from Star Wars characters like the Mandalorian and Grogu to shop logos to Bernie Sanders wearing his meme-able mittens to “The Office” stars Dwight Schrute and Michael Scott to The Bog’s touching tribute to co-owner Brian Craig, but the melting ice hardly put a damper on friends and families happy to be out and about again on a rare nice day between winter storms.

It wasn’t quite warm enough for bands to perform outside, however, so the festival cleverly kept the musicians behind glass by having them perform in front of the open windows at Casey’s Corner at the Hilton Hotel while speakers carried the sound outside to those walking by or peering inside. Endeavor Audio and Ionic Development also live streamed video of all the sets to NEPA Scene and the festival’s Facebook pages, as well as YouTube and Here’s how it looked from the outside:

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Robert Durkin, president of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, said that this was an opportunity for everyone “to show the small business people of downtown Scranton – your friends and neighbors – that you support them during these challenging times.” The first-time event went on to raise thousands of dollars for the Scranton Small Business Relief Fund that will give an added boost to businesses that survived 2020 but aren’t out of the woods yet.

“The Scranton Small Business Relief Fund at the Scranton Area Community Foundation was established by community members who really want to make a difference in the lives of small business owners and employees experiencing hardship during the coronavirus pandemic,” Scranton Area Community Foundation President and CEO Laura Ducceschi added.

“The Scranton Ice Festival aims to be a novel charitable event to bring the community together safely during these challenging times while bringing awareness to the small businesses in the area.”

For those who missed out or wish to see more ice sculptures can attend the 17th annual Clarks Summit Festival of Ice, which is held nearby on Friday, Feb. 12 through Sunday, Feb. 14.

Photos by Jason Riedmiller Photography/NEPA Scene

Watch videos of all the live performances below.

Day 1 with Tim Zieger & Zach Sprowls, Lightweight Duo, and The Boastfuls:

Day 2 with Michael Stec, Jacob Cole Trio, Modern Ties, Joe Burke & Co, Indigo Moon, Young Lion, Dave Brown & the Dishonest Fiddlers, and Dustin Douglas & the Electric Gentlemen:

Day 3 with the Wade Preston Band, Merchants of Groove, Erin Malloy & Friends, and Gabby Borges: