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Ice on Fire – A Celebration of Deep Winter

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Entrance to the Magic Maze where Masks are Magical. Photo by J. Gregory Gerdel.

For more than 20 years, the City of Montpelier Parks staff and AllTogetherNow!, a community arts center, have brought “Ice on Fire” to the Montpelier community, typically on the first Sunday in February. Given the ongoing pandemic, organizers had to get more creative this year, but they’ve succeeded in creating an alternative way for families to enjoy the magic of winter.

Parks Director Alec Ellsworth said that while this year will be different, but it will still be a “great chance to spend some time in the outdoors with your family.” He said that while the typical offerings of food and storytelling will not be possible this year, organizers have added new features, such as a tree maze on the tennis courts.

5-year-old Tessa Pavey runs through the tree maze. Photo by J. Gregory Gerdel.

The community is invited to the Montpelier Recreation Field to enjoy the tree maze as well as sledding on the hillside luge, an interactive snow person village, and a StoryWalk. People can visit the “Ice on Fire Village” at the pool/tennis court entrance and on Friday, February 26 from 2 to 5 p.m. where there will be a warming fire.

The recreation field is marked with trails and decorated with banners for residents to enjoy with friends. There is also close access to many trails at the North Branch Nature Center. Organizers ask that participants wear masks and maintain social distancing. Dogs are welcome except in Tree Maze, and owners are asked to clean up after their canine companions.

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Elana Buchanan, a regular five-year-old participant with All Together Now!,
takes a wild slide down the roof of the igloo in the middle of the banner field. Photo by J. Gregory Gerdel.