Come chill at Ice Fest, Ithaca’s coolest festival!

12th Annual Downtown Ithaca Ice Fest is Thursday, December 6 – Saturday, December 8, 2018.

Ice Fest is an annual tradition in Downtown Ithaca and no holiday season would be complete without a celebration of cold weather and cold weather sports…like Ice Carving!

Witness the nation’s finest ice carvers as they compete in 3 rounds of breathtaking competition.

Our 3 day festival features impressive display sculptures, a silent disco, fire dancing demonstrations, the ever-popular Ice Bar: an outdoor bar made entirely of ice, serving Bacchus Beer, wine, and hot cocoa, and of course, the annual Chowder Cook-off on Saturday of Ice Fest.

2018 Ice Fest Sponsors


3 Days of Spectacular Celebration

Day I: Thursday evening
Ice Bar Opens for the weekend!

Visit the opening day of the outdoor Ice Bar. Bring the whole family and enjoy the winter weather with a glass of Bacchus beer, wine, or non alcoholic cocoa while taking in fire fueled entertainment at this frosty extravaganza 5pm-9pm!

Day II: Friday evening
Speed Carving Competition

The opening competition of Ice Festival! From 5-9pm, Watch carvers test their speed and skill in this one-block, speed-carve, single elimination competition. Each participant will have approximately 20 minutes to create a complete sculpture so the competition will run the duration of the event.

Ice Bar

Open and serving delicious hot and cold beverages from 5-9pm!

Day III: Saturday, all day

A full day of excitement for everyone!

Carve and Deliver Competition

9am-12pm – Competing carvers must carve and deliver an ice sculpture to a downtown location in just three hours!

Ice Bar

Open 12-5pm for warm or frosty beverages all day!

Main Event: Two-Block Showpiece Challenge

2-6pm- This final round is the ultimate test of these carver’s abilities! Competitors will have just 4 hours to produce a dramatic and impressive sculpture using 2 large blocks of ice. Carvers will not only compete with each other for points, but also with the elements, rain, extreme cold, or unseasonal heat. In early December, one never knows what the weather will be, making the competition that much more exciting.


8th Annual Chowder Cook-Off!

Saturday, December 8, 12-5pm

The Chowder Cook-off heats up on the Commons and surrounding streets including Aurora, Cayuga and Dewitt Mall! Ice Festival-goers can stay warm by sampling over 20 different traditional, exotic, and gourmet chowders from local restaurants competing to be crowned our next Chowder Cup Champions!

Sampling tickets are for sale in advance and during the cook-off downtown.


Directions & Parking

Attendees can park in the Green, Seneca, and Cayuga Street garages and walk to the Apple Harvest Festival. The garages are equipped with accessible parking and elevators. Street parking is also available. 

For additional downtown parking information, click here. 

Don’t want to drive? See TCAT bus routes and schedules here. 


Event forms

Do you own a business in Downtown Ithaca?  Why not become part of the show! Order an ice sculpture to be delivered to your storefront for the duration of the festival! Custom sculptures available!

Does your restaurant, brewery, winery, or farm want to sign up to participate in the Chowder Cook-off? Sign up with the form below!