Inaugural Fire & Ice Festival set to warm up Bethany Beach

Date Published: 
Jan. 25, 2018

The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce is bringing Fire & Ice to downtown Bethany this weekend.

“Part of the motivation of the event is to supporting our year-round businesses through the shoulder season,” said Amy Dalrymple, event and member-relations manager for the Chamber. “So, this was an opportunity for us to do something a little bit different and bring folks to the town at a time of year when they may not see as many folks — both residents and visitors alike.”

The inaugural festival, slated to begin Friday, Jan. 26, will commence with the opening of the Southern Delaware Tourism Ice Rink at 10 a.m. The rink is made of synthetic ice — so, even with warmer temperatures, attendees will be able to skate throughout the weekend. The half-hour skating sessions cost $5 per person, which includes skate rentals.

“We’ll be launching new groups every 30 minutes,” said Dalrymple. “Groups of 10 or more can place themselves on a wait list; otherwise, it’s first-come, first served, with 22 people on the ice at one time.”

Those who attend the festival on Friday may also enjoy a self-guided tour of more than 20 ice sculptures, beginning at 5 p.m., with a live sculpture demonstration and opening ceremony beginning at 7 p.m. on the bandstand.

“We were actually very surprised with the support from our Chamber members. We were hoping for 10 sponsor sculptures in our first year, and that number more than doubled,” said Dalrymple. “We work with Erik Cantine, who is from Berlin, Md. He brings in, based on the need, additional sculptors. So, he’ll be bringing in a team of guys.

“Most of the pieces are sculpted in advance; then they’re assembled on-site. So, all day Friday, if folks want to come early, they’ll see them setting up, and there’s an element of sculpting in setting up as well.

“You’re definitely not going to want to miss the live sculpture demo on Friday at 7. Particularly with warmer temps, if you are dead-set on seeing the sculpture tour, the best night would be Friday night, from 5 to 9, with the live demo from 7 to 9.”

Those who want to enjoy the ice sculpting demo but also some live music can head over to Mango’s for a concert by The Funsters, hosted by Beta Sigma Phi, Alpha Alpha Chapter. The viewing party will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. and costs $35 per person.

On Saturday, Jan. 27, ice skating and the sculpture tour — featuring more than 12 tons of ice — will also include a festival funhouse, festival passport activity, a street performance by Cascading Carlos from noon to 4 p.m. and a beach bonfire at 5 p.m.

“If you’re coming up on Saturday, if it’s warm, just bring your beach chair,” Dalrymple added.

On Sunday, Jan. 28, the ice skating continues, but attendees may also enjoy a culinary showcase from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with tickets costing $30 each.

“We have partnered with three of our local restaurants. A lot of folks come in town during the busy season and it might be hard to get into their favorite restaurants. This allows people to spend a little bit of time and learn a little bit more about the places they may dine in the summer. It’s intended to allow folks to have an insider look at some of their favorite restaurants.”

Ticketholders for the showcase will be able to eat and drink their way through town while stopping by three participating restaurants — Bethany Blues, 99 Sea Level and Sedona

Dalrymple said the Chamber plans to make the festival an annual event, held on the last Saturday of January.

“It’s a new year, a new event for us. We’re hoping, for one, that the local community embraces it as much as our visitors.”

For more information and the complete schedule of events, visit FireandIceDE.com or call (302) 539-1919.