Programs At Hanford Mills Museum

Ice Harvest Festival

The Ice Harvest Festival is held the first Saturday in FebruaryThe Region’s Coolest Tradition
Held each year on the first Saturday in February
February 4, 2017, 10 am – 4 pm

Ice harvests were once an essential part of winter in rural communities. Before there was refrigeration, ice was needed to preserve agricultural products and to keep food cold in the warmer months.  Each year on the first Saturday of February, Hanford Mills Museum celebrates this rural tradition with the Ice Harvest Festival. Using historic tools and techniques, visitors can cut and maneuver blocks of ice from the Mill Pond, and then transport the blocks to the ice house by sled.

The Ice Harvest Festival  includes a variety of indoor and outdoor activities,  ice sculpting (by the SUNY Delhi Hospitality Center Ice Team) and blacksmithing demonstrations, horse-drawn sleigh rides, a hot soup buffet featuring soup from local restaurants, bonfires, cooking demonstrations, local farmers and vendors, films of ice harvests in the 1920s-1940s, a snowman village, and more. It’s a wonderful day of hands-on history and winter fun.  A painting donated by artist Werner Rentsch, “Ice Cutting at Hanford Mills NY” will be auctioned off at Ice Harvest. You may bid online on this painting now.

Ice Harvest Festival at Hanford Mills Museum

Children (12 and under) receive free admission. Museum members also receive free admission. (More information on admission and discounts.)

Did you know? The ice we harvest will be used to make ice cream at the Hanford Mills Museum Independence Day Celebration.

Hot Soup Buffet, Food Trucks, and Local Farmers and Businesses

The Hot Soup Buffet is a favorite way for visitors to warm up during Ice Harvest. At the 2016 festival, soup was donated by the Autumn Café, Otesaga Resort Hotel, Red Caboose Restaurant & Bar, Oneonta Bagel Company, SUNY Delhi Hospitality Program, Denny’s, Alfresco’s Italian Bistro, The Depot Restaurant and Tavern, Jay’s Place,  Sloan’s New York Grill, Jackie’s Restaurant, Doubleday CafeCafe OmmegangCross Roads Cafe, Delhi Diner,  Meredith InnBrooks’ House of BBQ,  Fiesta Mexican Grill, Danny’s Market, Cooperstown Diner, Toscana Northern Italian Grill, Cantina de Salsa, Bella Michael’s RestaurantBlue Bee Cafe, Humphrey’s, Applebee’s, the Tulip and the Rose Cafe, Mel’s at 22,  and Plaza Diner. Proceeds from the soup buffet and cookie sale (baked goods provided by Junkyard Bakehaus) benefited the Museum’s educational programs.

Local businesses and farmers at the 2016 Ice Harvest Festival were  Byebrook Farm (cheese), Cooperstown Distillery, Promisedland Farm (wool hats and mittens),  the Ate.o.Ate Food Truck, and Cabana Coffee.
Loading ice in the ice house

Ice Harvest in the News

“It’s such a slice of Americana. It’s why we love living up here. It’s a beautiful community event.”
-Teri Borst, who attended Ice Harvest in 2013

This video by Delaware County Tourism show highlights from the 2013 Ice Harvest. Editing by Jessica Vecchione, owner of Vecc Videography in Hamden.

ice sawing collage