Fire in Ice (copy)

A crowd is illuminated by the flame from a hot air balloon burner as they make their way along Carroll Creek which was lined with ice sculptures during Fire in Ice in 2019. The annual event typically draws large crowds to downtown Frederick in February.

Preparations for February’s Fire in Ice festival are being made, but whether one of downtown Frederick’s biggest events of the year will go on remains to be seen.

The city’s aldermen approved a request Thursday from the Downtown Frederick Partnership to serve beer, wine and alcohol at the outdoor beer garden for the First Saturday Fire in Ice scheduled for Feb. 6.

But with the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in February still uncertain, the permitting process was just a preliminary step to allow flexibility in planning the event.

“We are leaving all of our options open,” said Kara Norman, executive director for the Downtown Frederick Partnership.

She doesn’t expect a final decision on the festival’s status until after the new year.

The aldermen also approved a request from the Partnership to serve beer and wine at 21 Alive @ Five events in Carroll Creek Park Amphitheater on Thursdays from May to September.

But those events are also tentative, Norman said.

Much of the planning for Fire in Ice will depend on the public health restrictions in place at the time, Norman said.

But there’s no way that the festival will be everything people are used to, when the streets of Frederick are filled with shoppers, ice sculptures, fire breathers and other events and displays.

Norman said last year’s event drew about 25,000 people.

“That doesn’t make sense in a pandemic,” she said.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(8) comments

Piedmontgardener

This is just preliminary planning, there's no way that this will be on this year.

public-redux

Agreed. It’s like Trump planning for his second term.

user2403

So we're keeping bars open and considering having a festival that draws 25K people, but schools remain closed? Makes sense. Excellent prioritization.

Dwasserba

"Norman said last year’s event drew about 25,000 people. 'That doesn’t make sense in a pandemic,' she said." That sounds like a "no" to me.

threecents

I heard a restaurant owner on NPR explaining how he could not understand how some of his employees caught Covid. He said they followed all the limited occupancy rules and distancing and other rules. He did not understand that following minimum rules is still dangerous. A lot of people are like that. If the government lets them do it, then it must be safe... The interviewer revealed later that the restaurant owner asked if he could do the interview without a mask...

FlagstaffTM

This shouldn't be held unless we miraculously round a corner which seems completely out of the realm of possibility now. We shut down Market St. to give businesses along that corridor more options in the COVID era, much to the chagrin of residents who dealt with increased traffic, less parking options, etc. Now, one particular DT business (read: Brewers) is having an all you can eat BUFFET indoors (seems smart) on Thursday with no mention of any COVID precautions, yet we are told to not travel and visit family. (and I'm not)

Seeing as this buffet is an "event" advertised as such for the past month on all of their social media accounts, will the capacity limits be enforced?

I patronize as many DT businesses as I can and have for all my years living here, but at what point does Frederick city focus more on allocating some of that Fire and Ice planning/funding toward a more realistic and safe plan instead of holding out hope for an event which seems downright stupid to hold in a pandemic.

threecents

I'll skip it this year.

Jaco

Give it up! Stay home, stay alive, don’t spread COVID-19. The City of Frederick and Downtown Frederick Partnership seem too have about as much insight and forethought as Trump. We’re in an unprecedented pandemic and we don’t need 25,000 people descending on downtown Frederick even in February (3 short months away). DFP could potentially focus on helping merchants with online sales and a cooperative system (think carpool) for local deliveries.

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