No Snow, No Problem for Fire and Ice Festival

This year’s Fire and Ice Festival won’t look quite as icy as it has in the past, but the festivities will go on despite the lack of snow on the ground.

The warm weather does mean one small change to the schedule of events – snow-carving is off the table, said Cameryn Ehlers-Kwaterski of Destination Sturgeon Bay, which plans and pulls together the city’s premiere winter-time festival. 

Ice-carving allows for a bit more wiggle room when it comes to temperature, so that’s still on the docket for the Feb. 16-17 festival. Twelve amateur and professional individuals and carving teams will take on 20 ice blocks, with several tackling multiple blocks throughout the day.

While some of the featured carvers are professionals hailing from central Wisconsin, others are based closer to home, like a chef at Bluefront Café, who will make her own ice sculpture out in front of the restaurant, Ehlers-Kwaterski said. 

Starting at 9 am on Feb. 17, the artists will work throughout Walkable Sturgeon Bay, a collection of pedestrian-friendly routes that showcase the city’s downtown arts, shops, historic landmarks and water-access points on the east and west waterfronts. 

Through the afternoon, local artists, including Monica Ramirez of the Mona Lucy Gallery, will peruse the ice sculptures and choose winners for cash prizes. 

Then it’s the public’s chance to judge: Destination Sturgeon Bay will post pictures of the finished sculptures on social media, where viewers can vote for their favorite to receive the People’s Choice Award during the week following Fire and Ice.

The day is capped by the Fire and Ice Gala at Stone Harbor Resort beginning at 5 pm, and a fireworks show at 9 pm.

Schedule of Events

Here are some of the hottest (and coolest) events scheduled for this year’s Fire and Ice Festival. All locations listed are in Sturgeon Bay except for Potawatomi State Park, which is in Nasewaupee. 

In addition to the scheduled happenings, Ehlers-Kwaterski recommended checking out local businesses in the downtown area, many of which feature their own specials during the festival, and bidding on items in the festival’s silent auction. Held on the online platform Handbid, the auction will feature over 60 items from Door County businesses. Proceeds will support the many community events Destination Sturgeon Bay manages.

Feb. 16

5:30-7 pm: Luminary-lit hike at Crossroads at Big Creek, 2041 Michigan St.

6-9 pm: Open-mic night with winter games and fire pits throughout the weekend at Kitty O’Reilly’s Irish Pub, 59 E. Oak St.

Feb. 17

9 am onward: Ice-carvers work throughout Walkable Sturgeon Bay.

10 am – 2 pm: Indoor market at Third Avenue PlayWorks, 239 N. 3rd Ave.

11 am – 1 pm: Hike, snowshoe or ski at Potawatomi State Park. Refreshments and a bonfire will be available at the warming shelter in the picnic area on the park’s south shoreline. 

11 am – 1 pm: Soup and bread sampler at Master’s Cup Coffee House, $7 for adults and $3 for children under 10, at 1756 Michigan Street, attached to Prince of Peace Church. 

11 am – 1 pm: Hot chocolate and baked goods with Hype Dance Team at Martin Park, 207 S. 3rd Ave. Performances take place 11:30 am and 12:30 pm.

11 am – 3 pm: Continuous Door County Trolley rides. Stops are located at Third Avenue PlayWorks; Kitty O’Reillys Irish Pub; Popelka Trenchard Glass Studio, 64 S. 2nd Ave.; and Bay Shore Outfitters, 59 N. Madison Ave.

11 am – 3 pm: Roast marshmallows, drink hot chocolate and shop discounted winter gear at Bay Shore Outfitters. Chili will be available for purchase; proceeds support the Sturgeon Bay High School choir. 

1-3 pm: Glass-blowing demonstration at Popelka Trenchard Glass Studio.

2-4 pm: Historical ice-harvest reenactment at Crossroads at Big Creek.

2-6 pm: Local rock band Glas Hamr plays at Kitty O’Reilly’s.

5:30 pm: Fish boil at Waterfront Mary’s Bar and Grill, 3662 N. Duluth Ave. Reservations are recommended.

5 pm: The sold-out 2024 Fire and Ice Gala begins at Stone Harbor Resort, 107 N. 1st Ave.

9 pm: Fireworks show. The best viewing locations include Otumba Park, Stone Harbor Resort, Bayview Park, Graham Park, Sawyer Park and Sonny’s Pizzeria.

10 pm: Online auction closes.