Hunter Ice Festival continues this weekend

Published 12:26 pm Friday, January 19, 2024

NILES — One of Niles’ most popular festivals is back for a second weekend of frozen fun.

Niles Main Street announced that the 20th annual Hunter Ice Festival will return to downtown Niles this weekend for an encore. The annual festival features dozens of expertly carved ice sculptures placed around downtown in addition to other activities and businesses offering promotions on items.

While the event went ahead as scheduled last weekend, the decision was made to continue the festival this weekend for community members who were not able to make it due to last weekend’s sub-zero temperatures.

“Last weekend, the weather was wonderful to keep the ice nice but it was a little ferocious for people looking to enjoy the festival,” said  Niles DDA Main Street Program Manager Lisa Croteau. “Because the weather was so wonderful, the ice is still in great shape. We’re inviting everyone who didn’t come out and see things last weekend to come see things this weekend.”

For Croteau, the festival is a great time for people from Niles and beyond to take in the sculptures and shop to their heart’s content at many downtown businesses that will be open during the festival.

“It is a fun time for families to come out and play,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for businesses to see new people and showcase what they have to offer. Most businesses will have hot chocolate. It gives families the opportunity to explore town when you need something to do in the winter. It’s a way to see town in a new light.”

Below is a tentative schedule of weekend events for the Hunter Ice Festival:

All Weekend:

$10 Crafts at Bee Crafty LLC, 101 E. Main St.

Niles Brewing Company will host Board Game Night with Michiana Boardgamery from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

2nd and Main, 127 E. Main St., will have hot chocolate flights

Salon 414, 204 E. Main St.,  will be open for people to check out the new space. They will also have specials and hot cocoa. *closed Sunday

The Vagabond Girls Boutique and Artisan Collective, 218 Front St. Suite 2, is hosting its store closing sale. Clothing, gifts, fixtures, clothing racks, mannequins, furniture.

Iron Shoe Distillery,3 N. 3rd St., will have a build-your-own hot chocolate bar featuring gourmet hot chocolate with an assortment of marshmallows, candies, cookies, whipped cream, cinnamon sticks, spices and more. Guests 21 and-up can order it with alcohol

River Essence Group and NextGen Graphics are partnering to host a friendly Arctic Animal’s Quest. Sheets can be picked up at Bee Crafty LLC and 2nd and Main .

Scrappers will have several specials on Saturday. *closed Sunday

Evolve, 109 N. 3rd St., will have a 50 percent-off sale of select Himalayan salt lamps, candle holders and cooking blocks and their artisan supply sale upstairs.

Saturday, Jan. 20

Noon to 9 p.m. – Pizza Transit, 215 E Main St.,  will have free hot cocoa for children dining in as well as extra large two-topping pizzas for $15 for dine-in.

Noon to 5 p.m. – Niles Brewing Company will be closing at 5 p.m. due to a private event but you can also see them at the South Bend Brewfest.

3:30 to 5 p.m. – Cocoa and Coronation with Elsa and Anna at the Grand LV, 104 N. 3rd. St. Tickets are required and available at

Sunday, Jan. 21

Noon to 2 p.m. – Niles Brewing Company is hosting Sunday Brunch with Jim’s Smokin’ Cafe with mimosa and bloody mary flight specials. NBC will be staying open until the conclusion of the Lions game on Sunday, which starts at 3 p.m.  

 All Day – Interactive Ice Park on Main between Bridge and Front Street featuring Ping Pong, Corn Hole, RXO Ball Drop and more, sponsored by Indeck Energy; Ice Toboggan Hill at Riverfront Park, sponsored by The Children’s Center