Fire & Ice Festival

Sculptures by employees of Pittsburgh-based Mastro Gourmet Quality Ice will highlight the Fire & Ice Festival in Uptown Somerset.

This winter festival is celebrating days gone by.

“The Roaring ’20s” will serve as the theme for the 26th annual Fire & Ice Showcase, which will kick off Friday in Uptown Somerset, and sculptures will be on display until they melt.

“This year, we’ve structured Fire & Ice so that it’s self-guided and every piece of the festival is self-guided,” said Regina Coughenour, executive director of Somerset Inc., which sponsors the event. “I like to say we’re stripping Fire & Ice back to its roots. It started as a very simple celebration of ice, snow and winter and that’s what it will be this year.”

She said the theme will showcase some of the highlights from the era.

“We thought it would be a great theme and people are having fun with it and interpreting it differently,” Coughenour said. “It’ll be cool to see what everyone comes up with.”

Employees of Pittsburgh-based Mastro Gourmet Quality Ice will carve 42 sculptures for the event.

The carvings will include an array of ’20s-style vehicles, telephones, instruments, flapper dresses, martini glasses and historical figures such as Charlie Chaplin and Babe Ruth.

“It’s incredible what they’re able to do and they are truly artists,” Coughenour said. “What is the most striking is how they’re able to create something so crisp, ornate and detailed out of something so fragile. It is breathtaking.”

Live carving demonstrations will be held Friday and Saturday.

“It’s very cool to watch the process and to see the amount of care and thought that’s put into creating these masterpieces,” Coughenour said.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns and for safety purposes, events such as the fireworks, 5K run and walk, chili cook-off, marketplace and indoor entertainment have been canceled.

Activities happening include a scavenger hunt, story stroll for children, historic town trek tour, a pancake breakfast, bonfires, window-decorating contest and train displays.

In addition, food trucks will be on hand throughout the weekend.

Coughenour said the Fire & Ice Showcase, along with highlighting Somerset County, helps to give businesses a boost following the holiday season.

“It absolutely helps our small businesses to sustain throughout the winter,” she said. “It’s a way for us to say that Christmas isn’t the only thing to celebrate in the winter. We have ice, fire and this beautiful landscape, and it’s our expression of that and celebration of the winter season.”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/FireIceFestival or www.somersetinc.org.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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