With the news that the Lambertville-New Hope Winter Festival has been cancelled for the second year in a row because of fears over the spread of COVID-19, a post-holidays slump is feeling like a distinct possibility.
“With thoughtful consideration and caution for the health and safety of our community, including artists, fans, vendors, local businesses, and volunteers, we feel this is the right, responsible, and intelligent decision, though disappointing for all involved,” reads a statement issued by the festival’s organizers.
Nearly two years into the pandemic, many of us have become numb to all the postponements and cancellations, but this one hits harder than most. Following a vibrant holiday season, much of the Delaware River Towns usually goes into a low-key hibernation for much of January, a.k.a. the dead of winter. But for the better part of the last 25 years, the winter festival has broken that silence and lured us outside, sometimes in snow and bitter cold, with ice sculptures-in-the-making, a parade, and, our favorite part, various walking tours of two of the Delaware River Towns’ most diverse communities.
Not insignificantly, the winter festival has also generated more than a half-million dollars through the years for local nonprofits and agencies, many of which were integral to the Ida recovery effort last September.
But we found a way to cope without the winter festival last year, and we can do it again. To aid our cause, here are a couple of likeminded alternatives for your consideration.
This Hopewell Township farm is designed to function as a typical farm in the river towns did between 1890 and 1910, granting visitors an up-close view of real farming operations and even a chance to pitch in. One such opportunity is coming up on Jan. 29, with the farm’s annual ice harvest.
Back in the day, Howell Farm was referred to as the “ice farm” by locals who bought ice pulled from its pond to keep their milk cold on the way to the train station on Pleasant Valley Road. During the ice harvest, we’ll be able to see exactly how that operation worked through ice-cutting, hauling, and handling demonstrations.
It’s a safe bet there won’t be any chainsaws buzzing away that day.
If you’re up for it, you can help pull the ice blocks up the ramp to the icehouse and even chip some of it to make ice cream and snow cones. Kids, specifically, will be able to make an ice candle that they’ll be able to take home.
You probably know New Hope Celebrates as the nonprofit that stages Pridefest every May and the High Heel Drag Race every October, but it also hosts lots of smaller events throughout the year with the aim of simply bringing the New Hope and Lambertville communities together.
“We open our arms and hearts, welcoming everyone, as we create a sense of belonging and shared purpose,” reads part of its mission statement.
One of the group’s longest running traditions is its monthly tea dance. The next one, the Iced Tea Dance (see what they did there?), is Jan. 30, 4 PM, at Havana, in New Hope. If you’ve never been, think dance music, potent cocktails, and lots of friendly faces.