CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. — Ice sculptures lining the streets of Clarks Summit...it's something people see here every year, but this time around, it feels a bit more special.
"Socially, what else can you do but get outside? The kids will all be here," said Elaine Keeler, office manager of Keeler Abstract.
"Very happy, because these festivals are few and far between," said James Talerico, owner of Talerico's Tropical Winery.
For business owners, the annual ice festival means more foot traffic, an especially attractive prospect during a pandemic.
"This is actually my first year here. I just opened the winery inside their store here, in the middle of January, so this is my first ice festival. I usually come up here every year, and they do get a lot of people, so I'm hoping, with all the coronavirus and stuff like that, this will be a little bit of a boost to my business," said Talerico.
Organizers did have to weigh whether to still hold the annual event.
"That was the decision we were trying to make. We sat down with the borough, and we said, 'What do you want us to do?' And they said, 'You know what? If we can do it safely, let's do it,'" said organizer Janice Bevacqua.
The theme for this year's ice festival is "Hometown Heroes," honoring essential workers such as teachers, nurses, and farmers.
"And the neat thing about it was, we have people who have never had ice before that heard the theme, and they wanted to be involved, so it brought it new people too," said Bevacqua.
While the festival typically brings visitors from out of town, people who live here are mostly excited to reunite with neighbors they might not have seen throughout the pandemic.
"Just everybody being together, we'll see people we only see at baseball games, softball games, or when you're out. It'll be families we haven't seen in a long time. It's just great," said Keeler.
The Clarks Summit Festival of Ice runs through this Sunday.