The Juniata River Valley will be “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” this year when the 23rd annual Juniata River Valley Festival of Ice kicks off the holiday season on December 5 and 6 in downtown Lewistown. The festival welcomes new activities as well as bringing back traditional favorites.
New this year, will be a tree lighting ceremony by Geisinger Hospice and free kids’ crafts held in the backroom of East End Coffee Company. The Boyz, an acapella group, will be singing Christmas carols from the front steps of the Historic Courthouse and then invite the crowd up to the courtroom for more holiday music.
A gingerbread house competition, sponsored by Center for Community Action, invites residents to start a new holiday tradition by created a one-of-a-kind gingerbread house and submitting it to the contest. Categories for the entries include professional, service providers, amateur, family and children. To register and learn the rules, visit the Facebook event page, Juniata Valley Gingerbread House Competition, and return the form by Nov. 18. Winners will be determined by popular vote submitted through Facebook or during the festival. The top three winners in each category will earn bragging rights!
In addition to these events, many favorites are returning including the Big Band Sound, Studio 32 School of Dance, Miss Stephanie’s School of Dance, The Hillbillies 4-H Square Dancers, children’s choirs, wagon rides, live nativity and the Chillin’ 4K race/walk. To accommodate their large fan base, the Lewistown Community Band will perform two sets this year.
To kick-off the yearly event, the Crazy Parade will be led by Lewistown Mayor Deb Bargo and friends who will be reflecting this year’s theme, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” with their 1950s attire. All ages are welcome to walk in the parade around the square.
To make a keepsake from this year’s festival, Painting Parties by Judy is offering painting classes both nights at Gallery 3 West inside the former Montgomery Ward building. Reservations are not required, but preferred. Find more information about the parties on Facebook or calling (717) 734-2122.
The ever-growing and popular vintage dress form Christmas tree display will feature 21 designs by area residents and will be on display in the Historic Courthouse and in the windows of the Gift Emporium (former Glick’s Shoe Store).
The Gift Emporium, Holiday Market and the streets will again feature vendors from around the state that will help you jump start your holiday shopping, satisfy your sweet tooth and tempt your taste buds.
Of course, no ice festival is complete without ice sculptures. The Juniata River Valley Visitors Bureau is busy selling blocks of ice to are businesses, organizations and individuals to be carved for the event. However, you can never have enough ice sculptures. Last year, more than 40 sculptures lined Monument Square offering many selfie opportunities. If interested in sponsoring an ice block, visit www.juniatarivervalley.org message the Festival of Ice – Juniata River Valley Facebook page or call (717) 248-6713.