Ice arrives Friday Chili judges ready their bowls for Saturday

By on February 16, 2012

Fire & Ice is here!

"Every event within the event is at an all-time high for sponsors and participants," says Dawn Rissmiller, co-founder and co-organizer. "It’s getting bigger and bigger every day."

Rissmiller and Tammy Boltz started Fire & Ice with Lititz Women in Business seven years ago, hoping it would take off and bring people downtown in the winter months.

"It really has become a highlight of the year," Rissmiller added. "We had people calling us back in July for room reservations and details to make sure they had the right weekend."

Thirty-one locations will have ice sculptures this year. Designs include a rooster, dump truck, pine tree, dragon ballet slippers and a giant angel throne … and that’s just a sampling. Live sculpting is also a big part of the event, with six sculptures being erected Feb. 17 during the Friday Night Block Party.

The block party starts at 5 p.m. with food, games and a variety of entertainment.

"This year we have a magician, balloon guy, fire eater and lots of great local food vendors," Rissmiller said. "Pack 44 Cub Scouts are selling hamburgers, Troop 44 and 142 have their marshmallow roasts and funnel cakes, the Lititz LEO Club sells soup and hot dogs, a group supporting Speedwell Forge is selling items … and there are many more food vendors. New for this year is the Mad Toms Mobile Wrecking Room, several inflatable games and even Santa will be in Lititz early taking orders for 2012 Christmas season."

Also, Channel 11 from Blue Ridge Communications, and event sponsor, will be live with Carl Kern doing weather at one of the live sculptures.

Saturday starts at 11 a.m. at the high school with the Winter Wonderland Carnival in the gym and the Chili Cook-Off in the cafeteria.

The carnival will completely encompass the large gym with several inflatable games, activities, magicians, clowns, craft station, face painting and special guests through 3 p.m. A food stand is also available for hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn and snacks.

Down the hall from the gym, and during the same time frame, is the popular chili cook-off, with 20 chefs competing for trophies and the coveted People’s Choice award.

The judges this year are:

? Five Alarm Trophy: Mike Michael, Lititz’s assistant fire chief

? Mayor’s Trophy: Lititz Mayor Ron Oettel

? All-Star Trophy: Todd Rucci, Warwick School Board member and assistant football coach

? Founders Trophy: Dawn Rissmiller

? Grand Master Trophy: Dennis Steiner, president and CEO of Susquehanna Association for the Blind and Vision Impaired

? MVP Dream Team Trophy: Marc Shoenfelt, owner B2B Baseball facility and associate scout for the Chicago Cubs; and Mark Jones, selected by the Houston Astros in the 22nd round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Jones pitched the past three years in the Astros’ minor league farm system and is a Manheim Township graduate.

Several charities are involved with the cook-off: Lititz recCenter, KPETS, 4 Diamonds, Ovarian Cancer, Occupational Development Center, Castaway Critters and Leukemia & Lymphoma to name a few.

"This is a great way for our event to reach out to 20 extra charities, along with the monies we donate to community organizations and blind organizations from the LEO Club," Rissmiller said. "The Lititz LEO Club is the sponsor of the event and our main mission is assisting organizations with vision impairments and blindness. We support organizations like Susquehanna Association for the Blind and Vision Impaired, Leader Dog, the Beacon Lodge and many others. Monies that we make from the event have gone to those organizations in the past, along with local organizations like the Lititz rec, Community Chest, Lititz Library, DARE and the K-9 units for Warwick and Lititz. Ideally, people come to the event and donate to the various charities by "voting" for them. Every dollar they make goes directly to the charity along with a donation from the Lititz LEO Club."

Entrance to the Chili Cook-Off requires a chili button that can be purchased before the event for $5. Buttons are available at Bomberger’s, Curiosity Shoppe or Heavenly Soaps and Scents. Buttons can be purchased (if available) at the event for $7.

New this year is a Battle of the Bands on Saturday night from 7 to 10:30 p.m. in the Warwick High School gym. Admission is $3 and food is available to purchase throughout the evening. Local high school bands The Snails, The Districts, True Bamboo and Slow Loris will be playing and competing for cash prizes, a cymbal set from Dream Cymbals and Bobby D, and prizes from Clair Brothers.

Also new this year is a Back to School Dance sponsored by the Lititz Lions Club.

"With having the Lions as our sponsor," Rissmiller adds, "it was great to partner with them for this event. They are always very supportive and help throughout the event, but it was nice to be able to partner and have them form their own event within the Fire & Ice. We had several organizations ask us over the years to partner, but it made sense to do it with our parent sponsor."

For more information about the dance, log on to the lititzlions.org website or get tickets at McElroy’s Pharmacy or Mark Hough State Farm Insurance.

Overall event information can be found at the event website, lititzfireandicefestival.com or their Facebook page. More FIRE & ICE, page A15