‘Biggest festival in 18 years’: Crowds flock to Clarks Summit for icy trip Around the World
The horse drawn wagon ride goes down State Street with traffic following
CLARKS SUMMIT — Where can you find the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty and the Great Wall of China all in one town?
Right here in Clarks Summit.
The Abington Business & Professional Association organized the 19th annual Clarks Summit Festival of Ice with a global theme called “Around the World.” It was held during the weekend of Friday, Jan. 27 to Sunday, Jan. 29. Ice sculptors around Clarks Summit allowed visitors to travel with their minds by making sculptures of landmarks, animals or other things to represent a certain country.
The Gathering Place, which represented North America with an ice sculpture of Lady Liberty outside the building, provided “passports,” in which local businesses stamped on their continent.
Kids designed flags in The Gathering Place’s art room. They got to either come up with their own design or base it off a country’s flag.
Clarks Summit council president Gerrie Carey and Clarks Green councilwoman MJ Igoe served grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup in the Gathering Place. Proceeds from the food will go toward the purchase of Christmas lights.
“Clarks Summit and Clarks Green help each other out,” said Carey, who wore green attire and her Society of Irish Women’s sash to represent her Irish heritage. “This is the biggest festival in 18 years. There’s a lot more for the kids, which brings out the parents.”
Clarks Summit resident Mary Port volunteered to help sell the sandwiches and soup.
“I enjoy it very much because you get to see lots of familiar faces, and then you get to see people you’ve never met before and become friends,” she said.
The Gathering Place also sold foreign foods such as Irish baked potatoes, Swiss mac & cheese and Old England Wassail punch.
The festival goers also got to warm up with chili at Frist Presbyterian Church with the chili cafe the church has each year. They sampled many flavors of chili such as beef, antelope and pheasant. Church members Barbara Pittman brought in her creamy chicken with wild rice. Tabbi Miller-Scandle made mild beef chili.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Tabbi said about the chili cafe. “It’s nice to see people from the community.”
The chili cafe was co-chaired by church member Richard Cochrane, who brought chocolate brownies to the church.
A new business on State Street, The Welsh Tea Shoppe, which makes Welsh cookies and teas, had its soft opening during the weekend.
South Abington Elementary School teamed up with Hooked Seafood Restaurant to sell the latter’s stone crab chowder. Proceeds go to educational programs, the hardship fund for families in need, teachers’ grants and classroom supplies.
“I met so many amazing families,” said Amy Krukovitz, vice president of membership and programming at South Abington Elementary.
Abington Christian Academy gave away hot chocolate near the clock tower. Donations were accepted. On March 25, the school will have its annual fundraiser called Pie for Breakfast.
Imagine NEPA, which had an ice sculpture bust of Crocodile Dundee, stamped the Australia part of visitors’ passports. The location had a reptile show on Saturday afternoon provided by P.T. Reptiles PA. Owner Peter Rushton showed kids and their parents to see and touch a variety of scaly animals like snakes, tortoises and baby alligators.
Katie Lane, co-owner of Imagine NEPA and vice president of ABPA, brought in many other performers for the International Stage on Spring Street like Joyce School of Irish Dance and a Bollywood dance performance by Susanna David Fricke.
“The ABPA Ice Festival is very excited for this wonderful event,” she said.
The events began with a parade on Friday night and ended with the firemen ice carving competition on Sunday morning. Members of Dalton Fire Company Station 5 helped a professional ice carver make a couple of Eastern Island heads staring at each other. They topped them off with fire hats on the heads. Firefighter Steven Richmond was this year’s head carver for the fire department. He also participated last year when his father Dale Richmond Jr. was the head carver.
“I love every second of it,” Steven. said about the ice carving competition. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”