Ice harvests were once an essential part of winter in rural communities. Before there was refrigeration, ice was needed to preserve agricultural products and to keep food cold in the warmer months. Each year on the first Saturday of February, Hanford Mills Museum celebrates this rural tradition with the Ice Harvest Festival. Using historic tools and techniques, visitors can cut and maneuver blocks of ice from the Mill Pond, and then transport the blocks to the ice house by sled. The Ice Harvest Festival includes a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, ice sculpting (by the SUNY Delhi Hospitality Center Ice Team) and blacksmithing demonstrations, horse- drawn sleigh rides, a hot soup buffet featuring soup from local restaurants, bonfires, cooking demonstrations, local farmers and vendors including Byebrook Farm (Gouda cheese) and ProThe Ice Harvest Festival is held the first Saturday in FebruaryIce Harvest Festival at Hanford Mills Museummisedland Farm (handknit Swedish-style mittens and hats), films of ice harvests in the 1920s-1940s, a snowman village, and more. It’s a wonderful day of hands-on history and winter fun.