ITHACA, N.Y. – From the depths of a polar vortex to a high over 60 degrees, the past couple weeks of winter in Ithaca have been torn between extremes. The 7th Annual Festival of Fire and Ice offers a fitting way to celebrate the shifting season, with snow play and fire dancing at Ithaca Children’s Garden 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9.

The yearly event highlights opportunities for outdoor winter play, from classic activities like tunnel digging to experimental games at the Ice Lab. In warm years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service brings snow and ice shavings on-site to make sure there’s plenty of room for play. This Saturday looks seasonably cold with a chance of snow showers, according to the National Weather Service.

Related: Festival of Fire and Ice brings a dose of magic to the dead of winter

There will be a cauldron of hot chocolate to enjoy, as well as marshmallow roasting and a concession stand with all kinds of fiery and icy treats, according to a media release. Bonfires and performances will provide warmth and entertainment throughout the day, and the event will be capped off by a fire dance.

See what to expect with this video from the 2018 Festival of Fire and Ice by Jacob Mroczek:

YouTube video

The event is free and open to everyone, with a suggested donation of $15 per family or $5 per person. Visitors are encouraged to dress in warm layers. The festival is supported by the Tompkins County Tourism Program and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Featured image: ICG staff share winter crafts at the 2018 Festival of Fire and Ice (Jacob Mroczek/Ithaca Voice)

Devon Magliozzi is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at or 607-391-0328.