10th Annual Fire & Ice Festival

(); (), 2019

4 min read

For Fire & Ice 2023 click here.

Click HERE to see the 2019 schedule of events, or go here to see the final game schedule for the Hockey Classic.

Bundle up and embrace the cold! Fire & Ice activities are scheduled to go ahead this weekend.

Fire & Ice is a beloved community tradition every January in Alton, and 2019 marks the 10th Annual Festival! The Alton Mill Arts Centre invites visitors to playfully reclaim the joy of the Canadian winter at the 10th annual Fire & Ice Festival, January 19 & 20. This year’s all-ages festival is a curated mix of fan-favourite activities from the past decade and new programming for a growing festival audience. Experience ice sculptures and bonfires, guided forest walks, a petting zoo, geocaching, art workshops, food trucks and beverages, live music, extended hours for millpond skating, and more.

The after-dusk fire sculpture on Saturday evening is a festival highlight that has now outgrown its traditional site between the wall of the Mill’s Annex ruins. This year, spectators watch the burn from a new location on the grounds, described by festival co-ordinator Jeremy Grant as a “natural amphitheatre.” The 2019 sculpture is by artist Brian Oates, accompanied by music crafted for the occasion by Paul Morin, and sponsored by Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. Ice-sculptors John McCartney, Chris von Innerebner, Winston Uytenboggart, Monica Bishop, Billy Waterson and Cam Menken use chisels and chainsaws to create frosty masterpieces throughout the weekend, while blacksmith Glen Beale heats up the Livery with live demos. 

Warm up inside: festival-goers are invited to explore galleries in the restored heritage site, and meet the Mill’s resident artists in their working studios, from 10am-5pm on both days. Headwaters Arts exhibits “Shift,” a showcase of regional artists making a departure from their usual style. The Hive Encaustic Studio, expressive-arts teacher Michele Johnston, and Orangeville’s art educator of the year, CJ Shelton, host workshops for the public. Textile market Rare Threads showcases Nordic-inspired fashions, and serves up Icelandic cake. Throughout the weekend, enjoy the live music of Tragedy Ann, Sandy Harron, Mikalyn Hay, and jazz ensemble Hot Jaws.
Fire & Ice coincides with the 10th Annual Alton Millpond Hockey Classic, a fundraiser for the Millpond Rehabilitation Project. Local teams and players strap on their skates from 8am-4pm on Saturday, and festival-attendees are invited to watch! Tickets are still available for the Hot Stove Lounge ($30, by e-transfer to hockey@altonmill.ca or in-person at Gallery Gemma Jewellery in the Mill) featuring pub food, a cash bar, 50/50 prizes, a silent auction, and the Habs vs. the Flyers on the big screen. Wear your favourite jersey and bring a friend; visit altonmillpondhockey.ca for more details.
Fire & Ice is a celebration of community, local talent, and creativity. Festival-goers are invited to try their hand at maple syrup jug curling on the millpond, a geocaching treasure hunt in the forest for artwork by Alton Mill studio artists, outdoor yoga (sno-ga), an obstacle course and super snow slide for the kids. Shelburne group Troupe-Adore is on hand for face painting, henna tattoos, and balloon animals. Caledon businesses Alabaster Acres and Lynx & Hare Cycle Shop offer a petting zoo and fat bike demos respectively.
Bring your camera! The photo competition is back with a twist: submit your photos and videos of the festival for a chance to win free exhibition space in the Mill’s scenic Falls Gallery. 
For foodies, Sul Irmaos and Jerk Brothers food trucks serve up a variety of Caribbean and Portuguese delicacies, in addition to burgers and other festival staples, while Lavender Blue Catering opens an after-hours lounge (from 5:00 pm) for fire-sculpture spectators and ice skaters. GoodLot Farmstead Brewers and Heartwood Farm offer samples of craft beverages from the Headwaters region, and Love’s Sweetness Maple Syrup returns with traditional winter treats.
Admission to the Fire & Ice Festival is Pay What You Can, with a suggested donation of $10 per adult, $5 per child, or $25 per family. Free parking is offered at offsite parking lots with a shuttle bus operating from the Alton Legion, from 10am-7pm on Saturday. Click here to see a map of parking. There will be no parking available in the Alton Mill Arts Centre lot, and limited spaces for guests with accessibility needs. Activities are subject to change without notice, and weather conditions may affect outdoor programming. 
This year’s festival sponsors include Van Harten Surveying, and Spectrum Feed Services. Thank you to York Durham Headwaters for their support of the 2019 festival!

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Artist showing their art to two visitors in a bright studio

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