What would Clarks Summit be like without the Festival of Ice?
Ten years ago, President’s Day weekend in the borough was just a typical holiday weekend, until the Abington Business and Professional Association (ABPA) decided to make it glisten by creating the annual event. Now, the festival is going to mark its milestone by bringing rock and roll to State and Grove streets.
“Music stirs the heart and stirs the soul and gets your juices flowing,” said Barry Kaplan, ABPA president and festival co-chair. “In the middle of winter, when you’re almost catatonic, here’s something for the whole family to come out and get their spirits up and dance and have a good time.”
Ice sculptures by Sculpted Ice Works representing different eras of rock and roll will line the streets of Clarks Summit. As Kaplan explained, this year’s festival will feature “zones” for each specific time period or genre. Those zones will also hold clues to the festival’s first scavenger hunt.
“There are nine zones, representing different genres of music,” Kaplan said. “The scavenger hunt will send people to at least one venue in each zone, where there will be an album. They will have to find the album, it won’t be hard to find, and then they will note on a form what business and what album. They have to go to all nine zones and all venues will have an entry box. There will be a drawing with lots of prizes available for the participants. That’s an exciting new part of it.”
“There are plenty of people who travel to each of the sculptures already,” he continued. “We hear about it every year where people have goals set to see every single sculpture and get a photo with every one of them. The people have fun with it, the sculpture sponsors like it as well, so we’re just making it into a fun game for everyone.”
For ABPA executive director Laura Ancherani, incorporating themes into the festival has helped it grow over the past 10 years. Previous themes have included the Olympics, a Renaissance faire and superheroes. This year, she says, will only increase the all-ages aspect that the festival has become known for.
“This year will be very interesting because all the music is so cross-generational, so it will spark a lot of conversations,” she said. “The kids have their music that will represented but, then, there’s music that will be represented going way back that they might not even know about. It is like a history lesson, in a way.”
Kaplan agreed with Ancherani, citing the classic rock genre as an example of cross-generational appeal.
“Classic rock has the boomers because that is what they grew up with,” he said. “It also appeals to the millennials because they still love it; there are millenials who disdain it because it is tried and true, but that’s just one element. We picked the theme because music gets people smiling and laughing. Everyone has a favorite song, singer or group. Everyone has a specific memory that a specific song evokes.”
This year’s Festival of Ice will coincide with the monthly Downtown Go Around, an arts and music showcase sponsored by the Arts Committee of the ABPA held every second Friday in downtown Clarks Summit. This Friday evening will be nicknamed “Rock and Stroll” and will feature a performance by blues artist Clarence Spady at the Clarks Summit Borough Building, 304 S. State St., from 6-9 p.m. Other venues throughout Clarks Summit will have rock and roll-themed artwork on dis
play and live music. The COLTS trolley will be available for trolley rides and, in honor of Valentine’s Day, horse and carriage rides for couples will be available near Sole to Soul, 535 S. State St.
“I think in popular culture nomenclature, ‘rock and roll’ is much broader than the classic definition of rock and roll,” Kaplan said. “We’ve just recognized that as part of the festival and we’ll have sculptures and events representing various aspects of what people call rock and roll. For example, blues is not strictly rock and roll but God knows it is in the rock and roll universe and has influenced rock and roll so heavily. It is part of our lexicon and part of the way we think of it.”
New this year is also a costume contest, to be held Saturday evening, Feb. 15, before the EagleMania concert at the Clarks Summit Elementary School, 401 W. Grove St.
“The costume contest is something we really want people to participate in,” Kaplan said. “It is free for people who come to the concert. It is a $100 prize for a group of two or more people or $50 for an individual. The doors open for the concert at 6 p.m. and they have to register by 7 p.m. The opening act is Hippie Nation and then between Hippie Nation and EagleMania, the winners will be announced. We’re hoping it is a lot of fun. We’re hearing that people are coming in costume just for fun throughout the weekend but, specifically, they can come during the concert to compete for a cash prize.”
The entire festival will kick off tonight with the annual “Family Fun Faire,” beginning at 6 p.m. at the Clarks Summit Borough Building, 304 S. State St., followed by the annual parade, which will begin at 7 p.m.
Additional event listings are located throughout this week’s edition of the Abington Suburban.