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 2, 2019, 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 2018 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 with volunteers from the Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited
  • horse-drawn sleigh rides
  • blacksmith demonstrations
  • a hot soup buffet featuring soup from local restaurants
  • bonfires
  • 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

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. Find out more about ice conditions, and tips for your Ice Harvest visit.

Hot Soup BuffetIce Harvest Festival at Hanford Mills Museum

The Hot Soup Buffet is a delicious way for visitors to warm up during Ice Harvest. Restaurants that donated soup and chili at teh 2018 Ice Harvest Festival were:  Alex’s BistroAlfresco’s Italian Bistro,  Applebee’s, Autumn Cafe, B-Side BallroomBlue Bee Cafe, Brook’s House of BBQ, Cafe Ommegang,  College Association of Delhi Inc. (CADI), the Cooperstown Diner, Cross Roads Cafe, Delhi Diner, Denny’s, Depot Restaurant & Tavern, Doubleday CafeJackie’s Restaurant, Jay’s Place, Lucky Dog Cafe, Mel’s at 22, Morey’s Family Restaurant,  the Otesaga, Signatures RestaurantSimply Thai, Sloan’s NY Grill,  the Tulip and the Rose Cafe, TK’s Diner, and Undercover Eggplant. Rolls generously provided by CADI.

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


The Ice Harvest Festival was sponsored by the SUNY Delhi Hospitality Management DepartmentThe Daily StarWSKG. and Five Star Subaru.  Hanford Mills Museum is very grateful for their generous support.

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.