To quote the opening theme from the old Lone Ranger show, "Return with us now to the thrilling days of yester-year." The Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith, NY will take you even further back with their annual Ice Harvest Festival February 3.

Back in the days before refrigeration was invented, farmers would actually harvest ice from lakes and ponds to keep food cool in the hot days of summer. In fact, one New England Farmer even found a method to harvest and ship ice all over the US and Cuba.

The Museum, near Oneonta, has celebrated the tradition on the 1st Saturday of February since 1989. There's more to the celebration than the harvest; there's ice carving, horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowman village, hot soup buffet, food trucks, blacksmith demonstrations, and exhibits by local businesses and farmers. The Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited will even provide equipment for the kids to try ice fishing.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on February 3.  Children 12 and under receive free admission, if you live in any of these zip codes; 13757, 13739, 13786, 13750, and 13806 you get in free. Otherwise it's $9. The festival goes full circle by using the ice harvested, to make ice cream at their annual July 4th Celebration.

While the celebration may be old school, the museum recognizes you may use today's technology to find them. They also recognize GPS may route you onto less than desirable roads. They suggest more desirable routes using their directions. Learn more about the Hanford Mills Museum at their website or call 607-278-5744.


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