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 3, 2018, 10 am – 3 pm

Come enjoy a day of hands-on history and winter fun.

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 also features ice sculpting and ice fishing, a hot soup buffet, bonfires, and exhibits by local farmers and businesses.

Photo by Jessica Vecchione

The 2017 Ice Harvest Festival offered a variety of indoor and outdoor activities:

  • ice sculpting by the SUNY Delhi Hospitality Center Ice Team–blocks of ice were transformed into beautiful works of art.
  • ice fishing, the Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited offered kids the chance to ice fish
  • blacksmith demonstrations
  • horse-drawn sleigh rides
  • a hot soup buffet featuring soup from local restaurants
  • bonfires
  • cooking demonstrations
  • local farmers and vendors including Byebrook Farm (Gouda cheese), Promisedland Farm (handknit Swedish-style mittens and hats), the Cooperstown Distillery, and Cabana Coffee
  • films of ice harvests in the 1920s-1940s
  • snowman village
  • Children (12 and under) receive free admission. Museum members also receive free admission. (More information on admission and discounts.)

The Museum monitors and grooms the ice in the weeks leading up to the Ice Harvest Festival.

Hot Soup BuffetIce Harvest Festival at Hanford Mills Museum

The Hot Soup Buffet is a favorite way for visitors to warm up during Ice Harvest and in 2017 featured soup and chili made by favorite area restaurants, including: Alex’s BistroAlfresco’s Italian Bistro, Ate.o.Ate CateringApplebee’s, Brooks’ House of BBQ, Cafe Ommegang, the Cooperstown Diner, Cross Roads Cafe, Danny’s Main Street Market, the Delhi Diner, Denny’s, Doubleday Cafe, Fiesta Mexican Grill, Jackie’s Restaurant, Jay’s Place, Mel’s at 22,  Morey’s Family Restaurant,  Oneonta Bagel CompanyThe Otesaga, Simply Thai,  Sloan’s N.Y. Grill,  Signatures Restaurant, and the SUNY Delhi Hospitality Program. In addition, the College Association at Delhi, Inc. (CADI) baked up delicious rolls.

Proceeds from the soup buffet and cookie sale (baked goods provided by Junkyard Bakehaus) benefit the Museum’s educational programs.


The Ice Harvest Festival was sponsored by the SUNY Delhi Hospitality Management Department,  WSKG, The Daily Star and Five Star Subaru,.

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

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

ice sawing collage

Thank you to Q. Cassetti for designing the Ice Harvest Festival logo.