The 10th annual Clarks Summit Ice Festival was supposed to about the legendary rock stars, but it was the weather that took center stage.
Approximately 17 inches of snow fell during the course of the four-day Rock n’ Ice event. Festival organizers, The Abington Business and Professional Association, were forced to cancel the parade on Thursday night, suspend horse and carriage rides and postpone Saturday night’s Eaglemania concert. (A new date has not been announced).
“We’re definitely disappointed the snow affected the festival and some of the events had to be cancelled,” said festival co-chairman and current ABPA president, Barry Kaplan. “But after all it’s a winter festival, we can’t complain about the cold weather and snow when it’s in the middle of February. … In 10 years, this is the first time (snow) actually affected the events that we had to redo or cancel some events.”
After Thursday night’s big snow dump, ABPA members and volunteers scrambled to clear streets and walkways in front of businesses. In the past, according to Kaplan, the borough would hire equipment to move snow away from the sidewalks, but with the high snowfall numbers the area has seen this winter, there wasn’t much that could be done.
“No one can plan what nature has in store,” Clarks Summit mayor Patricia Lawler said. “Overall people showed their resiliency … we all worked together. I was out there shoveling with Barry.”
Heavy snowfall Saturday morning kept many in their homes, but a few bundled up die-hards braved the elements to enjoy the ice sculptures. The nasty weather did little to stop the Abington Lions Club, who were out grilling and waving at passing vehicles.
Foot traffic increased in the afternoon as the weather cleared. Though Kaplan deemed the festival a success, he noted there was a steep decline from year’s past.
“Normally we get 30,000 to 35,000 people,” he said. “We know it was significantly less this year, but once the snow cleared, the streets were filled with people.
“… We’re estimating 20-25,000 people, which is pretty good, considering two mid-festival snowstorms.”
With no snow on Sunday, the typically quiet last day of the ice festival was buzzing with activity. Visitors made up for lost time by hanging around Clarks Summit for much of the day and into the evening.
“For all intents and purposes, a good time was had by all,” Lawler said. “When you’re resilient, you can take anything and we’re resilient in Clarks Summit.”