When: Lititz Borough Council meeting, Sept. 29.
What happened: Borough Council took a look at what the 2021 Lititz Fire & Ice could look like. While most council members agreed that Lititz Fire & Ice is important to support retail businesses in town, there were others who questioned the safety of holding even a scaled-down festival.
Why it matters: For the past 15 years, Lititz Fire & Ice has welcomed thousands of visitors for a wintry celebration of ice sculptures, chili cook-offs, light shows and kids activities. The winter festival was one of the last big events in Lititz before the global COVID-19 pandemic forced the shutdown of big gatherings, concerts and sports. At the virtual meeting, Holly DeKarske, executive director of Venture Lititz, said the event will need to be scaled down, if it happens at all. She said now is the time to order and sign contracts for the ice sculptures that usually line Main Street, Broad Street and Lititz Springs Park.
Quotable: “We have already had more than 200,000 people die from this, and by February, it could be as high as 400,000,” said council member David Brubaker. “There may be an uptick in the virus in winter, and it seems wise to bag it for a year. It’s COVID-19, and it’s really dangerous.”
If it happens: DeKarske said the Venture Lititz committee suggested that ice sculptures be displayed at shops in Lititz over a two-week period, with people wearing masks and socially distancing. Council is leaning toward the scaled-down proposal. For safety reasons there would be no chili cook-off. Kids events and the vendor fair at the high school also would be canceled. The usual street fair with fireworks and light shows is not a good idea either, she said.
Other business: Council approved the request of John Bear of Griffiths Consulting to negotiate an agreement with Norfolk Southern to move the track switching away from busy Route 501 in front of Lititz Springs Park. The agreement with the railroad will move the turnaround west of the current location. The freight train is mainly used by Johnson & Johnson, and trains coming from the west must switch to another line on North Broad Street (Route 501), in order to return to the west, blocking traffic on North Broad Street.