CLARKS SUMMIT, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Clarks Summit’s Festival of Ice kicks off on Friday.

Early Friday morning empty sidewalks fill the streets of downtown Clarks Summit, but that won’t be the case for long as thousands of visitors are expected to stop by the festival.

“We started this 18 years ago trying to build some business in the dead of the winter so people could come to town, see everything that we have and go into our businesses and spend their money,” said Janice Bevacqua, President of the Abington Business and Professional Association.

This year’s theme is ‘around the world’, showcasing ice sculptures like the Empire State Building, and a scottish bagpiper.

Mark Crouthamel is one of the mastermind’s behind the festival (nats) – chipping away at one of the more than 55 sculptures that will be up for display in the borough.

He says he joined in on Clarks Summit’s event 17 years ago when he was still perfecting his craft.

“I really kind of got into it. I wasn’t very good and I couldn’t stand that I wasn’t very good, the power tools and the magic sucked me in and I got a little better, a little better in time and then somebody from clarks summit called and said, ‘can you do a festival for us?’”

Crouthamel says this weekend’s weather is great conditions for the ice to thrive, something they haven’t dealt with in the past.

“We’ve seen subzero weather that like, boy those sculptures they looked as perfect the last day as they did the first day, and then others that we were setting them up and they were melting as we were going down the street.”

With dozens of shops, non-profits, and members of the community joining in on the fun – everyone is ready for the local boom in business.

Gerrie Carey, President of the Clarks Summit council, says “a lot of people all coming together, pulling their own good ideas, and then we end up with a wonderful event.”

The Festival of Ice runs Friday through Sunday evening.