Get ready for some frosty fun in St. Joseph! The 15th Annual Magical Ice Fest looks to be bigger and better than ever and packed with family fun, ice competitions and even some frozen fish. The event, which runs from February 1st through February 3rd, is a great way to explore this charming lakeside town and celebrate the winter season.
Whether you're a first timer or a frequent ice fest attendee, check out this guide for everything you need to know!
15th Annual Magical Ice Fest Frozen Fun Guide
All weekend long, there's a scavenger hunt, making for a frozen adventure! Participants will be the lookout for items that have been frozen into blocks placed around town (pick up a map at the St. Joseph Today Welcome Center, located at 301 State Street). This "SnowBiz" Hunt is fun for all ages and has its rewards too - turn in the form at the end and be entered to win a St. Joseph Gift Certificate.
FRIDAY - Frozen Fun Begins!
Ice carvers begin revving their chainsaws for the Individual Competition on Friday at 5:30pm. Along Pleasant Street blocks of ice will be transformed into all sorts of awesome. The carvers will finish their icy creations at 7:30pm, when the attention turns to warming up...
At 7:30pm, guests are in for a treat with a downtown Fire & Ice Tower. To make this happen, a large tower of ice is packed with firewood. We light it, and it becomes a unique site for all - a breathtaking bonfire (a little bit of ice and fire magic).
INSIDER TIP: Stop by The Livery to try the official
beer of Ice Fest, the Magical Ice-Bock! You can also head
over to Purely Michigan on Saturday from Noon-2pm for FREE samples from
The fun doesn't stop when the fire does!
It heads up below the bluff at the Fire & Ice Party, held at Shadowland on Silver Beach. This event begins at 8:00pm and goes until midnight, and features an ice martini luge and a dance performance with literal flames! Guests 18 and older are welcome. A $10 ticket covers entry, pizza from Silver Beach Pizza, Zick's Sticks, and entertainment. Bring cash for drinks!
INSIDER TIP: This event sells out, get your ticket early!
In the Arts District, The Livery is hosting an awesome live show! The North, a Chicago-based band, brings their "dynamic blend of rock, funk and jazz, with the danceability of pop music" back The Livery stage. Doors at 8:30pm with a $10 cover charge.
SATURDAY - All About the Competitions and Downtown Fun!
Ice teams assemble! The Team Competition for ice carvers begins at 8:00am and State Street will come alive with icy fun. This carving and creating will go on until 4:00pm and involves an epic amount of ice for each sculpture. It's awesome to watch the progress of the teams throughout the day.
The fun continues downtown throughout the day!
For active ice-seekers, start your day off with 6th Annual Ice Fest 5k Chocolate Walk/Run, beginning at 9:00am! This timed run is the perfect way to explore downtown St. Joseph (and warm up a little, too!). After your run challenge your friends and family to the Frozen Fish Toss of NEW this year, Ice Bowling! For just $1, toss three frozen fish at a cornhole board, or $1 for two tries to knock down 10 pins. The Frozen Fish Toss and Ice Bowling are open from 10:00am-4:00pm.
INSIDER TIP: The Livery is passing out coupons and prizes during the fish toss!
If you're looking for toastier fun, there's lot for families to do indoors. Bring your flip-flops for a Hula-Hoopla below the bluff at the Silver Beach Carousel! It's Waikiki Weekend at the Silver Beach Center. The spin of the carousel evokes balmy breezes for riders, and there's even a free hula show at both 1:30pm and 3:00pm.
Catch the Magic Tour (putting the "Magical" in Ice Fest!) throughout downtown St. Joseph on Saturday, too. John Dudley will be at the St. Joseph Library at 11:30am, outside St. Joseph Today at 1:00pm, at Curious Kids' Museum at 2:30pm, and at Shadowland on Silver Beach at 4:00pm! All shows are free.
Above the bluff, it's a great time to explore our shops and restaurants. From unique Michigan-made goods to kitchen essentials to boutique clothing to handcrafted treats, there's something for everyone in downtown St. Joe!
INSIDER TIP: The John & Dede Howard Ice Arena will host Open Skate hours
Friday from Noon-5:00pm, Saturday from 4:00-10:00pm, and Sunday from
12:30-6:00pm. For more open skate times and additional information visit
To round out the day, an event not to be missed is Ice Wars. This exciting competition is located at State and Pleasant Streets and kicks off at 4:30pm. Ice Wars features procarvers dueling it out in 15 minute bouts of ice-carving chaos, judged by the crowd. Chainsaws and a crowd vote - what could be better?!
INSIDER TIP: Arrive on the scene early as this event gets packed and those up
front will have the best views.
Finish up by going out for dinner! Find our full list of restaurants here.
SUNDAY - Take it All In Before the Big Game
If cold conditions remain through the weekend, Sunday offers a great opportunity to enjoy downtown St. Joseph and all the sculptures created during the festival. Many stores and restaurants will be open offering the perfect place to warm up while enjoying the icy art. (Great way to get out before Super Bowl activities start later in the day)
INSIDER TIP: There's still time to complete the "SnowBiz" Scavenger Hunt,
so swing the Welcome Center to pick up a form.
We hope you find all the frosty fun this weekend! Learn more about upcoming events in Southwest Michigan at stjoetoday.com or follow St. Joseph Today on Facebook.