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A sound system on the fritz couldn’t dampen the spirits of the children gathered around the steps of the Old Courthouse in downtown Carlisle to sing along with the “snow sisters” and their signature song, “Let It Go,” during Saturday’s Ice Arts Fest event.

Marcela Barboza of Harrisburg brought her daughters, both under the age of 3.

They had never seen ice sculptures before. They like to touch them and, in the way only children would do, try to lick them, she said.

A former Carlisle resident, Barboza knew the ice princesses would be at the festival and also knew her girls would love the chance to meet them at meet-and-greet opportunities at the Carlisle Vault.

“They kept wanting hug after hug after hug,” she said.

“We did this last year, and we really enjoyed it. They loved seeing Anna and Elsa,” said Emily Hockman, who is from the Hanover area and brought the children she used to nanny to the event.

Noting that there were plenty of activities for children at the event, Hockman said the children had already enjoyed the penguin craft at the Carlisle Area Family Life Center and were anxiously awaiting a wagon ride from Benchfield Farms.

Mary Brunski, president of the Carlisle Rotary Club, was among the club members volunteering at the Alpine Haus to sell hot chocolate and bottled water to Ice Fest visitors. By just after noon, she had seen a steady stream of visitors passing through the downtown.

Across the Square and down the street, Karen Griffith had the same impression at Create-A-Palooza. People were walking the streets as early as 9 a.m. to take pictures of the sculptures.

Some of the visitors had come around last night to see the ice sculptures as they were lit up at night, and then returned during the day on Saturday to see how their appearance changed with the light and to see how the sculptures started fragmenting in the sun, she said.

“I think they really like seeing the light changes and all of that,” she said.

This year, there was a greater focus on interactive sculptures, such as a jail cell window at Abom & Kutulakis, a beard at HJ Barbershop and a photo frame at American Artisan Gallery.

“Every year has a little idiosyncrasy,” said Pam Fleck, owner of the gallery. “The weather, unfortunately, affects our downtown participation. Last year, we were really, really packed more on Friday night, but last night was cold.”

Though Saturday’s cold prompted her to move the glass blowing workshop the gallery was hosting inside. Ice Fest itself draws people out to brave the cold on what might be a normally quiet day in the winter, Fleck said.

On the Square, Barb Cross invited visitors to tour the church after many took pictures of the tall replica of the landmark structure. The church had asked for the “spire on the Square,” Cross said, but were surprised to see a sculpture of the full facade delivered. The artwork was placed for maximum impact.

“If you stand on the bricks over there and look into the church, you can actually see the large stained-glass window, which really makes a great photo op,” she said.

In the matter of a few minutes, visitors from Lancaster and Harrisburg toured the church. Cross recalled that last year’s event drew a number of people who were in town visiting relatives.

No matter who comes through the door, Cross said it’s important for the church to be part of these community events.

“St. John’s is an anchor in the community, and as often as we can open the church to everybody, we certainly do,” Cross said.

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Carlisle Reporter

Carlisle Reporter for The Sentinel.