10 Reasons To Attend The Richmond Meltdown Winter Ice Festival

Meltdown Winter Ice Festival

The biggest festival of the year is embraced by the entire town!  Gorgeous ice sculptures pop up throughout town, while local businesses and restaurants host themed events and other specials throughout the week. 

The Richmond Meltdown is a free event that attracts thousands of visitors, including many families, to enjoy the festivities. There is a lot to see and do, but here are ten that you can’t miss during a visit to the Richmond Meltdown Winter Ice Festival.  This post is in partnership with Visit Richmond. As always opinions are our own. 

Watch Ice Carvers Transform Blocks Of Ice Into Masterpieces

Meltdown Winter Ice Festival

I highly recommend taking time in the afternoon to stroll Main Street to see all the great carvings and maybe grab a cup of tea at the Tin Cup.  In the event the weather isn’t cooperating they do move the ice sculptures into refrigerated trucks overnight. Check the schedule of events to find when and where the ice carvers will be.

Try An Ice Luge During The Frosty Mug Pub Crawl

Ice Luge

Many of the bars and locations participating in the crawl had an ice luge which is a must! An ice luge is an ice sculpture that has a narrow channel where a liquid is poured. Usually, this liquid is a specialty shot or liquor: The ideal way to kick start our Meltdown weekend!

The pub crawl lasts for two hours, and as such, we only managed to venture to two spots.  We are hoping they extend it so that partakers have a little longer at stops.

Catch A Fiery Performance at the Richmond Meltdown Winter Ice Festival

Fire and Ice Festival

The fire performances are held at Jack Elstro Plaza right in front of the stage. This event does tend to draw a crowd so arrive a little early to get a good spot, especially if you have little ones in tow.

Play A Game Of Ice Corn Hole

Ice Games In Richmond Indiana

Plinko was a fan favorite, along with a race track to see whose car could make it down the ramp the fastest.  Throughout the Plaza, you can find ice sculptures, food, restrooms, and more.

Discover these great outdoor things to do in Richmond, Indiana.

Zip Down A Slide Made Of Ice

The line to go down a slide completely made of ice was longer than the hot chocolate line. Kids were squealing as they slid down the ice slope at rapid speeds. Once they reached the end they immediately ran back in line time and time again.  I even saw a few adults get in on the action.

Tip: Keep in mind that you may want to make sure your child has snow pants on otherwise they will have one cold and wet bottom.

Get Inspired By Magical Snowflakes On Main

Lining Main Street inspirational snowflakes can be found with uplifting and positive messages. The snowflakes are visible from the outside of the local businesses.  I always am a fan of supporting local businesses so we made it a point to go into a few of the stores and look around.

I left with a pair of souvenir gloves, perfect to remember the Meltdown by.  The Magical Snowflakes also hold a secret message. Pick up a passport and record the colored letter found on each snowflake. Unscramble them to reveal a secret message and get entered to win some amazing prizes.

Discover Ice Sculptures Throughout Town

Ice Sculptures At Winter Ice Festival

Nosh Your Way Through An Assortment Of Local Food Vendors

Ice cream during an ice festival might seem crazy but it is a popular booth at the Meltdown Winter Ice Festival.  Local favorite Ullery’s was serving up frosty cones while those seeking a warmer alternative could be found at Roscoe’s. These were just two of many local food vendors who were serving delicious eats.

Cheer On Your Team At The Richmond Meltdown Fire And Ice Competition

Throwdown at Meltdown Ice Festival

Once the sculptures are complete the crowd chooses the winner! Watch the ice fly as the competition gets underway in an event unlike any other. Get caught up in the excitement to cheer your team on to victory.

Listen To Music At The Richmond Meltdown Winter Ice Festival 

Starting Saturday afternoon up until the big competition local churches and businesses host local musicians. A set schedule can be found online however we noticed that many of the local restaurants and bars also had live music on their agenda. From choirs to soloists, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

Tips For Attending The Richmond Meltdown Winter Ice Festival

  • Ice Checkers
  • The weather can have an impact on the festival.  High temperatures and rain can delay or cancel select events.
  • Come early to get a spot for the Throwdown Competition. This is the main event of the festival which starts to fill up about an hour prior.
  • There are fireworks! There are a few fireworks to kick off the Throwdown Competition and again at the end.
  • Whether you are watching them while they carve on the street or at the after-party, take a moment to let them know what a great job they are doing. These ice cravers have great stories about how they started in ice carving and where it has taken them.
  • They have a fun frozen fairy trail for the kids. Other great kid events were meeting Elsa in her igloo and a fun Hayes Hike and Chocolate at the Hayes Arboretum.
  • Get to the Jack Elstro Plaza early to have your pick of the ice games. As the afternoon went on the crowds increased.

Where To Stay In Richmond, Indiana for the Meltdown Winter Ice Festival

The spacious rooms, a full kitchen, game room, and inviting patio area will make it hard to leave. Rates are very affordable and it is only minutes to town. In the event, this beautiful cottage is booked consider looking at the nearby Bed and Breakfast and hotels. 


More Great Things To Explore With Visiting Richmond, Indiana

Richmond is a small town that is packed with history. Here are a few of our recommendations to check out during your visit.

  • The Tiffany Stained Glass Trail- This gorgeous self-guided tour will take through four sites each home to an impressive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany Stain Glass. A highlight of the tour is the Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church.
  • Antique Alley- There are two different antiquing trails that will take you throughout Wayne County in a pursuit to find the perfect relic of years gone by.
  • Levi and Catharine Coffin House- Known as “Grand Central Station” of the Underground Railroad take a tour of this historic home and learn about how this couple helped hundreds of freedom seekers.
  • Chocolate Trail- Kids and Adults alike will enjoy sinking their teeth into this trail.
  • Wayne County Historical Museum- From mummies to stagecoaches this museum is always a popular attraction.

We would like to send a special thank you to the Wayne County Tourism Board for sponsoring our visit so that we could attend this great event.

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