Officials: Weather has improved Fire & Ice festivities

January 20, 2019

As of early Saturday afternoon, festival officials said the weather has benefitted Somerset Inc.’s Fire & Ice Festival this year.

“We don’t want the heat and we don’t want subzero temperatures,” said Somerset Inc. Executive Director Regina Coughenour. “We couldn’t be happier with the high 20s, low 30s.”

Light flurries fell throughout Saturday with the heavier snow arriving in the evening. Coughenour said the delayed snow may have even helped keep more people at the festival.

“The hotels are booked, so the people here already have nothing to worry about,” she said.

And many people drove hundreds of miles to attend, according to Coughenour. She met people from Michigan, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Reading, Ohio and Greensburg.

“I think our little festival over 24 years has gotten some traction,” she said.

At the Somerset Area Hockey Association’s public ice rink, Vice President Rob James said that there were 15 to 20 kids on the rink every hour Saturday.

“It was a little slow in the morning, but we’ve had this steady stream of people coming all day,” he said. “Some stay 15 minutes, some a half hour. We let them stay as long as they want.”

And the light flurries helped the rink because, according to James, the light coating of snow makes the artificial rink feel more real.

“Now we’re just going to wait and see what happens tomorrow,” he said Saturday.

And the ice sculptures benefitted from the weather as well, said Coughenour.

“People said they’re having so much fun,” she said. “These ladies I spoke to said they had a blast hanging out, so they’re already planning for next year.

“It’s a good feeling at this festival.”

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