Ice, Antiques and Bluegrass: 5 Upstate Festivals to Check Out This Winter

Horse-drawn sleigh rides at the Ice Harvest Festival. Photo via Hanford Mills Museum


    When temps go down in Upstate New York, the fun is just starting to heat up. This winter, head north for the great outdoors and revel in fantastic festivals that celebrate music, winter sports and the best the season has to offer.

    winter festival upstate new york

    Learn how to climb ice at the Catskill Ice Festival. Photo via Alpine Endeavors

    Catskill Ice Festival 2016
    January 29 through February 1 in New Paltz and surrounding areas. $150 per person, per event.

    Tap your inner icy Spiderman at the 18th Annual Catskill Ice Festival. This ice-climbing extravaganza led by Alpine Endeavors is part bootcamp, clinic and adventure for all skill levels. Newbies can learn the basics, while experienced climbers can tackle advanced steep ice and crevasse techniques.

    Getting there: Participants meet daily at 8:15 a.m. at Rock and Snow in New Paltz. Climbing locations are only reachable by car, but if you plan to take the Trailways Bus to New Paltz, you may be able to make arrangements to hitch a ride with another participant or in Alpine Endeavor’s eight-passenger van.

    winter festival upstate new york 02

    Front Country is one of the bands playing at this bluegrass bash. Photo via Winter Village Bluegrass Festival

    Winter Village Bluegrass Festival
    January 29-31 in Ithaca. $20-115 for individual shows through full event passes.

    The grass is always bluer during a weekend of fast-paced, stringed-instrument, folksy jams. Get ready to meet the new face of bluegrass; the theme of the 6th Winter Village Bluegrass Festival is “young, progressive bluegrass bands.” Supplement musical performances with workshops, food and community fun.

    Getting there: The event is hosted by La Tourelle resort (which is offering special festival rates) and The Hangar Theatre. Travel to Ithaca via car, or take a Short Line Bus to Ithaca and get around town via taxi.

    winter festival upstate new york

    Treasures await at the Mohawk Valley Antiquefest. Photo via Vintage Furnishings

    The Mohawk Valley Antiquefest (Utica, January 23-24)
    January 23-24 in Utica. $7 admission, good for both days.

    Get your mid-winter yard sale/flea market/antiquing fix at the 16th Annual Mohawk Valley Anqituefest in Utica. This two-day cornucopia of collectibles, music and food is organized by Vintage Furnishings and features 32 antique dealers spread across the stage, wings and rooms of the historic (and gorgeous!) Stanley Theatre.

    Getting there: Utica is a four-hour drive from NYC by car. You can also reach the city by Trailways Bus.

     festival upstate new york 05

    Cutting ice blocks at the Ice Harvest Festival. Photo via Hanford Mills Museum

    Ice Harvest Festival
    February 6 in East Meredith. Museum admission $4-9, free for kids under 12.

    Step back in time and experience a so-cool-it’s-ice-cold tradition at the Ice Harvest Festival at the Hanford Mills Museum. Stroll onto a frozen pond to cut and haul ice blocks, hop onto a sleigh for a horse-drawn ride, try your luck at ice fishing and shop local crafts and cuisine. This family-friendly event is packed with activities from storytelling to blacksmithing.

    Getting there: East Meredith is a about a three-hour drive by car.

    winter festival upstate new york 06

    Battle on the ice. Photo via Adirondack Ice Bowl Pond Hockey Festival

    Adirondack Ice Bowl Pond Hockey Festival
    January 29-31 in 4th Lake Inlet. Free for spectators.

    Who needs MSG and the New York Rangers when you’ve got three full days of outdoor ice hockey just waiting for your rink-side battle cries? More than 40 teams go for the goal at The Adirondack Ice Bowl Pond Hockey Festival, which also features “hockey village” ice-activities, live entertainment, dining and shopping.

    Getting there: Activities are within walking distance from the pond hockey rinks and The Woods Inn, an entertainment host. A free shuttle bus will circle through nearby parking areas. This location is reachable by car.

    Related Posts
    4 Fast and Easy Upstate Adventures to Go On This Winter
    6 Places to Get Your Skiing and Snowboarding Fix in the Hudson Valley and Catskills
    5 Offbeat Places to Stay in the Hudson Valley and Catskills

    Businesses Mentioned Above


    Email with further comments, questions or tips. Follow Brownstoner on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.


    Brooklyn in Your Inbox

    * indicates required

    What's Happening