In the historic town of Mount Holly, New Jersey, the Fire & Ice Festival is a one-day event in late January that brings people out into the snow to enjoy ice sculptures and a variety of delicious chili recipes. With creative art to look at and hot food to eat, this festival is fun for people of all ages.
Around 10:30 a.m., the ice carving contest begins in two places: the Mill Race Village on White Street and the Business District along High Street. Professionals and amateurs alike carve 300-pound ice blocks into sparkling works of art. The judging takes place in the afternoon and winners are announced around 3 p.m. Prizes ($1,000 for professional first place, $750 for second place, $500 for third place and a few more) are awarded to the winning artists. Amateur winners are recognized as well. Ice sculpting artists hail from all over the East Coast. If you are interested in participating as an ice carver, contact Cathy Ryan at 609-267-5618, ext. 4504, or Jackie Delong at DeLong@bcc.edu.
Visitors also get a chance to taste a variety of delicious chili recipes. More than 40 cooks from all over Burlington County come to try for a chance to win the chili contest. The contest is held at the Relief Fire House on Pine Street (the oldest continually operating fire house in the country). Registration opens at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, and after the official judging, the public is invited to enjoy the various chili recipes around noon. If you are interested in entering the chili contest, contact Jan Myers at 609-261-0314.
Gingerbread House Contest
The Gingerbread House Contest, introduced several years ago, gives contestants a chance to demonstrate creative and artistic abilities. You can register and pick up gingerbread house kits during regular shop hours at the following Mill Race Village Shops in early January: Silver Lining, 5 Church St., 609-518-0077, SilverLining@comcast.net; and Teddies of Mount Holly, 44 White St., 609-702-9386, TeddiesofMtHolly@comcast.net. The proceeds from the $10 registration fee benefit the St. Vincent de Paul food bank. Judging takes place during the festival and the first prize winners will receive $100 gift certificates for any shop in Mill Race Village or for the Robin's Nest Restaurant.
If you are coming on Route 295: continue to Mount Holly exit 47, follow Route 541 into Mount Holly and follow the signs for parking. If you are coming on Route 38E: turn left on the Mount Holly bypass (Route 541), at the end make a right and travel on High Street into Mount Holly, follow the signs for parking. If you are coming from the Burlington Bristol Bridge: take Route 130N to Route 541E, follow Route 541 (which turns into High Street into Mount Holly) and follow the signs for parking. If you are coming on the New Jersey Turnpike: exit 5 Burlington/Mount Holly, take a right on Route 541 toward Mount Holly, continue on Route 541 (which turns into High Street into Mount Holly) and follow the signs for parking.
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