The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 8, 2013

'Tropical Paradise' | Somerset's Fire & Ice Festival will feature cool carvings, warm treats

SOMERSET — An annual winter festival will have a tropical spin.

“Tropical Paradise,” the 18th annual Fire & Ice Festival, will be held Jan. 18-20 in Uptown Somerset.

This is the first year the festival has had a theme, and Stephanie Williams, executive director of Somerset Inc., which sponsors the festival, said it was her brainchild.

“At the end of last year’s festival, I knew I wanted to do something different this year,” Williams said.

“Everyone is excited about the tropical theme, and it should be a lot of fun. This brings a different twist and an interesting element.

“I don’t want to see any snowflakes.”

In keeping with Williams’ mandate, this year’s Fire & Ice pin features a polar bear dressed in a hula skirt and wearing sunglasses beside a palm tree.

A tropical window-decorating contest by local merchants will add to the atmosphere.

The festival is free, but $6 admission pins are necessary for some venues.

Festival headquarters have been moved to Glades Court Mall, 109 W. Main St., where information and pins will be available.

Employees of Mastro Gourmet Quality Ice of Pittsburgh will carve  sculptures throughout the weekend, all with a tropical theme unless otherwise requested.

A Fire & Ice teen band blast will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 19 at Somerset Area Senior High School, 645 S. Columbia Ave.

Admission is by pin or $6.

Other live entertainment will feature Jimmy Buffett impersonator Tom Watt the Buffettman at 8 p.m. Jan. 18 and the Michael O’Brian Band at 8 p.m. Jan. 19 at the American Legion, 162 W. Main St.

Admission to the Buffettman concert is by Fire & Ice pin.

Admission to Michael O’Brian is by pin and an additional $5 ticket purchased in advance.

Sonrise Ministries, 101 W. Main St., will host an amateur photo contest and amateur and professional gallery art show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 19 and 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 20.

A 5k run and walk will begin at 10 a.m. Jan. 19 at the Mosholder Building, 135 W. Main St.

The entry fee is $20, and checks should be made payable to Somerset Inc.

A children’s center featuring crafts and activities will be set up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 19 at First Christian Church, 139 E. Main St.

A fireworks display by Little Big Shots of Addison will light up the sky beginning at 6 p.m. Jan. 19.

“We’ve always had it (fireworks) on Friday, but last year, we had to move it to Saturday because it was too windy,” Williams said.

“The majority of out-of-town people are here Saturday, and we had a bigger crowd.”

A variety of food will be available throughout the weekend.

A soup sale will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Jan. 18 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 19 at First Christian Church.

An all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast sponsored by Somerset Kiwanis Club will be held from

7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 110 S. Edgewood Ave.

A Hot Stuff Chili and Soup Cookoff will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Jan. 19 at the American Legion.

Admission is by pin or $6.

If you go ...

What: 18th annual Fire & Ice Festival.

When: Jan. 18-20.

Where: Uptown Somerset.

Admission: Free, but $6 admission pins needed for some events.

Information: 443-1748 or


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