Mike Wells had to warm up to the idea of taking a seat on an ice throne.
“It was chilly. … It would be good for my back,” he joked Friday night. “But you really don’t want to sit too long. You may have trouble later.”
The Upper Frankford Township man was testing out one of the main attractions of the CenturyLink Ice Art Fest. Organized by the Downtown Carlisle Association, this second annual event continues from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Hundreds of area residents jammed the sidewalks Friday to look at the 74 sculptures crafted by Ice Concepts of Hatfield, Pennsylvania. In most cases, the artwork represented the sponsoring business.
There was a frosted beer mug for the Market Cross Pub and a chilled wine bottle for the North Hanover Grille. Mummert Chocolates had a heart-shaped candy box for Valentine’s Day while hands holding a heart graced the façade of the Tamzen Bridal shop.
There is a touch of the unusual. Miss Ruth’s Time Bomb has a punk rock poodle while Deibler Insurance has a crashed car. The Belgian restaurant Café Bruges hosts a Smurf, a classic cartoon character with origins from the same country as the cuisine.
As the chief sponsor, CenturyLink was represented by a throne located in front of an historic seat of power — the Old Courthouse on the Square. Company employees volunteered Friday to help people on and off the big chair.
“It’s great to have something like this in town to bring people out,” Wells said of the Ice Fest. “I’m glad they are doing this. It’s much larger this year.”
Just down the street, on the corner with West Pomfret, was a sculpture of a diamond ring that sparkled in the red back light.
Marjorie Romano, owner of Marjorie’s Gems, was on the committee that organized the first Ice Art Fest last year. That event featured 47 sculptures.
“It was huge success,” said Romano, who grew up in Carlisle. She has memories of visiting the downtown with her mother and eating lunch at the counter of the local Woolworth’s store.
“When I saw that crowd last year … all those people. … It was just like growing up again,” she said. “What the DCA did was to bring people back into the downtown to see that there are businesses thriving. It was magical to see it all come together and work.”
Last year, her jewelry store was humming with people who were previously unaware that downtown Carlisle had so many shops and restaurants.
“I have stopped in at a lot of stores that I have never been in,” Jenny Wendell of Carlisle said Friday. “It’s good for the community. It brings a lot of people.”
Wendell visited the Ice Fest on its first day because the weather forecast was calling for rain over the weekend. Last year, warm temperatures had melted a lot of the sculptures by Sunday.