Hanford Mills Museum Ice Harvest Festival set for this Saturday
Hanford Mills Museum will hold its annual Ice Harvest Festival on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The festival recreates a winter tradition that was essential to rural communities up until the early 20th Century. Using vintage tools, children and adults are invited to walk out on the frozen millpond to cut and maneuver blocks of ice. The ice blocks are pushed up a ramp and then loaded onto sleds, which are then hauled to a traditional icehouse.
The event also features a hot-soup buffet, horse-drawn sleigh rides, blacksmithing demos, and children’s activities. The SUNY Delhi Hospitality Center Ice Team will be making ice sculptures on site. Guided tours will be offered in the Hanford House, which shows how a family would live in the 1920s. Visitors also can watch films of ice harvests in the 1930s and warm up by outdoor fire pits.
The museum shop will be open, offering mill-made crafts, traditional toys, books and local products. Area farmers and vendors will be selling knitted hats and mittens, cheese, fresh roasted peanuts, and other items. “Before refrigeration, ice was the only way to keep food cold, so communities would harvest it in the winter and store it until it was needed,” explains Liz Callahan, executive director of Hanford Mills Museum.
“Many people are surprised when they hear that the ice in the ice house will keep until next fall. We will use the ice to make ice cream at our Independence Day Celebration.” She said that area farmers used the ice to keep milk and other agricultural products cold, and also sell ice.
More activities will be added to the festival in the coming weeks. Up-to-date information is available at HanfordMills.org.
Children 12 and under receive free admission. Admission for adults and teens is $8.50; senior admission is $6.50. AAA and other discounts are available.
Museum members receive free admission. Those living in zip codes (13757, 13739, 13786, 13750, and 13806) neighboring Hanford Mills also receive free admission.
Hanford Mills Museum is located at 51 County Highway 12 in East Meredith, at the intersection of Delaware County routes 10 & 12, just 10 miles from Oneonta, and 15 miles from Delhi.
For more information, visit hanfordmills.org or call 607-278-5744.