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I spent most of my free time the last couple weeks re-watching the older “Star Wars” movies and catching up on the newer ones I hadn’t seen yet. At the beginning of February 2018, I marathon-watched the Harry Potter series. And in February 2017, I brushed up on my Broadway knowledge.

If you’ve lived in the Abingtons for the past three years or longer and you don’t know what these three things have in common, you’ve been missing out.

“Ice. Lights. Broadway.” was the theme of the 2017 Clarks Summit Festival of Ice. The 2018 festival showcased “The Wizarding World of Ice.” And “Ice Wars” is the song of this year’s event, set for next weekend, Feb. 15-17.

I can’t wait.

I attended my first Clarks Summit Festival of Ice 10 years ago in 2009 – the fifth year of the event. But I didn’t attend any of the special events that were part of the weekend-long affair. I didn’t know about the parade that welcomes the ice to town on the first night. I didn’t even know about the festival itself until a few hours before I arrived that Sunday afternoon.

Some of my friends had been making plans that morning in church and invited me to come along. We stayed only about an hour, strolling up and down South State Street, stopping to inspect and take pictures of each ice sculpture.

The festival’s theme that year was “A Frozen Renaissance Faire.”

I’ve made an effort to attend every year since, but not just for an hour after church on Sunday.

To get the full experience, make a day – or weekend – of it. From the live music and entertainment to the more than 50 themed ice sculptures and live carving demonstrations, and from the nighttime parade to the carriage rides around town, there is plenty for everyone to see and do.

It isn’t surprising the festival attracts 25,000-35,000 people each year.

As a journalist, I’m supposed to be unbiased about the stories and events I write about and photograph. But I admit, the Clarks Summit Festival of Ice is my favorite. Even after eight years of covering it.

Be sure to check next week’s Abington Suburban for the official 2019 Clarks Summit Festival of Ice program guide with everything you need to know about the event.

In the meantime, may the Force be with you.

Contact the writer:

ebaumeister@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100, ext. 3492