Northeast Ohio is known for its spectacular scenery throughout the year, and winter is no exception. Many travelers may wonder what there is to see during the peak winter months. Two things that visitors can be sure of about are that it can get very chilly and it is not unusual for snow to be on the ground.
However, don’t let those images fool you! Winter lends the area a cozy charm, and there are quite a few things to do during the season. One of those seasonal activities that draw an appreciative crowd is the Medina Ice Festival.
All About the Medina Ice Festival
The Medina Ice Festival typically happens during February. In 2023, the ice festival in Medina will be celebrating its 29th year. Sponsored by several local organizations, including Main Street Medina, the four-day event is known to be the largest ice festival in the region.
The event is free and open to the public, so anyone can attend and enjoy it. Centrally located in Medina’s historic Town Square, it’s impossible to miss the festival when driving through the city. As there is also free parking, you can park without worrying about getting a ticket.
If you plan on going, remember that the event usually happens in February. The average high temperature during this time of year is approximately 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, heavy coats and jackets should be a part of every visitor’s wardrobe.
It is also a good idea to pack extra socks and to wear sturdy boots because there is likely to be snow on the ground. Don’t forget to wear gloves, too.
Warm beverages are provided for winter festival attendees. Since it is a family-friendly event, feel free to bring loved ones along even if they have fur (dogs on leashes are welcome).
Things to Do at the Medina Ice Festival
Ice Sculptures Galore
In some ways, the event could be nicknamed the Medina ice sculpture festival because one of the highlights is the numerous ice sculptures found throughout the grounds. Festival organizers estimate that up to 40,000 people will show up to check out and participate in the event.
Many people may not be aware that there is a whole community that revs up during the winter to create ice sculptures. For a number of them, going to the Medina Ice Festival is an annual trip to showcase their amazing talent and hard work.
A Contests & Sculpture Lightings
Besides taking in the awesome sights of ice sculptures, there are other activities to enjoy at the ice festival in Medina. One of the most popular is the speed carving contest. Competitors line up and carve out their best ice sculptures in record time.
Also, the Fire and Ice Tower lighting is held after the sun has set. Background multi-colored LED lights are used to highlight the sculptures.
Visitors who want to grab a bite to eat will be glad to know that Medina has an active foodie scene. During the summer months, the city has a farmer’s market that is extremely popular throughout Northeast Ohio. That spirit carries over into the more than 35 restaurants and eateries in the Medina area.
FAQs About the Ice Festival in Medina
When is the Medina Ice Festival?
The times and dates are subject to change, but the annual Medina Ice Festival will happen near mid-February.
What are the speed carving contests at the Medina Ice Festival?
For the Medina Ice Festival, the speed carving contests generally happen in 30-minute intervals beginning at 5:30 p.m.
When are the Medina Ice Festival sculpture lightings?
Beautiful sculptures will be on display throughout the day, and the Fire and Ice Tower lighting events begin at 7 p.m. with LED lights that constantly change colors.
All of the events will take place in the public square in front of the Medina County Courthouse on Broadway Street.
How much is the Medina Ice Festival?
There is no cost to attend the Medina Ice Festival, and parking is also free. There are more than 1,000 parking spots in close proximity to the festival.
And, the event is open to people of all ages. Even pets are welcome as long as they are on a leash.
More Things to Do Near the Medina Ice Festival
After checking out the Medina ice sculpture festival, you may still be game to enjoy other activities. One of the most popular winter activities in Northeast Ohio is ice skating and roller skating because both can be enjoyed indoors. Here are a few places to check out.
In nearby Strongsville about 15 miles north of Medina, travelers can visit the OBM Arena. You are free to bring your own skates or rent a pair for a nominal fee. Designated public skate events are held throughout the cold season, featuring a DJ to keep things lively.
Hockey fans might enjoy this place too. There is a local league and hockey program that OBM both sponsors and hosts
Festival visitors who prefer to stay in Medina can head over to Medina Skateland for some roller-skating adventure and fun. The venue is open to the public on Friday nights and select weekend hours.
Admission fees vary but are never more than $10, and skate rentals are available. This is a popular place for birthday parties, and hours are subject to change, so visitors might want to check in before heading over.
High Voltage Indoor Karting
Another fantastic place to check out is High Voltage Indoor Karting, one of the most popular places for go-kart racing in the region. You can join multi-car races, and the venue typically hosts large parties of go-kart racers.
Go-kart racing is available for people of all ages, but there are dedicated times reserved for young kids (known as Jr. Kart). If this venue is on your must-do list, check in with them first to make sure that there are open slots.
Dining Near the Medina Ice Festival
As mentioned before, there are more than 35 restaurants and eateries in the Medina area. Visitors that want to grab a great meal have a wide variety of places to choose from, but here are a few that are definitely worth checking out after or before visiting the festival.
3725 Medina Rd, Medina, OH 44256
This local chain of restaurants is only found in Northeast Ohio, and the Medina location is a favorite dining spot for area residents. It’s a family-friendly place to eat and features a full kids’ menu for young diners.
Featuring a diverse range of meals, you can look forward to a wide selection of dishes, including gluten-free items. Choose from chicken fingers, homemade soups and chilis, and other meals that are perfect on cold days.
Entrees include delicious dishes such as Tuscan Chicken, grilled salmon, and New York Strip Steak.
320 S Court St Suite 100, Medina, OH 44256
The Farmer’s Table is a perfect companion to Medina’s famous farmers market. All of the ingredients are locally sourced, and it specializes in farm-to-table meals.
Bite into a warm slice of zucchini pumpkin bread or pierogies, one of Northeast Ohio’s most iconic meals. Barbecued pulled pork and buttermilk chicken sandwiches are other popular menu options.
The kids’ menu includes cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, and grilled cheese sandwiches. So, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.
Lodging Near the Medina Ice Festival
While there are many national chains of hotels in Medina, visitors may miss out on the local Midwest charm that the area has to offer. Instead, here are a couple of places that are cozy, warm, and lovely.
504 W Liberty St, Medina, OH 44256
Spitzer House is a local bed and breakfast that welcomes guests as if they’re family. This historic home has been around since 1890 but is updated for guests to have free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and a coffee bar that is open all day, every day.
705 Wadsworth Rd, Medina, OH 44256
This cozy home with two bedrooms is perfect for a couple looking to get away or a small family wanting to stay close to the Medina Ice Festival. Just four blocks from Medina’s historic town square, you’ll find all the amenities you’ll want with the comfort of being in a single-family home.
Plan Your Trip to the Medina Ice Festival
If you are thinking about attending the Medina Ice Festival, consider exploring more of Northeast Ohio while you’re there. In fact, you can enjoy winter day trips in the Cleveland area too.