Elaborate works of art crafted in ice will highlight an upcoming winter festival.

The 29th annual Ligonier Ice Fest will be held Jan. 25 and 26 in downtown Ligonier.

More than 60 ice sculptures carved by DiMartino Ice Co. of Jeannette, Westmoreland County, will be on display around the Diamond and on North Main and North and South Market streets.

“One of the big things that’s important for us is ensuring that we’re allowing the artists creativity to come through because these guys are crazy talented artists,” said Ruthie Stewart, event and marketing coordinator with Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the festival. “With single block sculptures they put together a general list of ones they like to do and merchants pick from that list. When you go into the two and three blocks that becomes the artist’s choice.”

A speed-carving contest featuring DiMartino carvers will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 26.

“It’s a wonderful showcase of what these artists can do and within a half hour they are creating something totally original and out of their brain that’s 100% their choice,” Stewart said. “It attracts a large crowd.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch someone take big blocks of ice and create a sculpture.”

There also will be live music, food and horse-drawn carriage rides, weather permitting.

Kettle corn will be served from a copper kettle in front of the library.

Ligonier Radio will be live on the Town Hall porch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 25.

The annual spaghetti dinner to benefit Ligonier Volunteer Hose Company No. 1 will be served beginning at 11 a.m. Jan. 25 in the community room of Ligonier Town Hall.

The town hall auditorium will be the site for free live musical entertainment.

Big Fat Jazz will perform from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 25, and Candle in the Wind will entertain crowds from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 26.

The ice fest is held regardless of weather, and the illuminated sculptures may be viewed 24 hours a day during the festival.

Merchants and restaurants will be offering festival specials throughout the event.

“The town is filled with so many local and wonderful restaurants and shops and everything in them is handpicked and hand curated just for you,” Stewart said.

She said the festival is a good way for people to come out and see the town and what it has to offer.

“We’re in that time of year where everyone experiences a little bit of cabin fever, so we want to give everybody that opportunity to get out here and experience the town, do some shopping and shake off those cob webs,” Stewart said. “If you haven’t seen the new Diamond this is a great time to come out and experience the renovation.

“This is the Diamond at its finest.”

For more information, visit www.ligonier.com.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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