The ice-themed event takes place in conjunction with the Hocking Hills Winter Hike.

The first Logan Frozen Festival was organized to celebrate the city of Logan’s bicentennial. Local officials planned a special event every month of the year in 2016 to mark the town’s 200th anniversary.

But the first winter gathering in the historic downtown was so much fun, organizers decided to make it an annual event, said Karen Raymore, executive director of the Hocking Hills Tourism Association. “Everyone had such a great time, we said this needs to happen every year,” she said.

The idea for a festival featuring cold-weather fun was inspired by the region’s year-round appeal, she said. Tourists flock to the Hocking Hills in winter to hike the trails and see frozen waterfalls and springs.

In fact, the annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike is one of the area’s most popular events—attracting thousands of people for the trek through Hocking Hills State Park. The Frozen Festival is always scheduled on the same day as the morning hike to provide more activities for visitors, Raymore said. “It seemed a shame not to have something else to offer them,” she said. “Now, they have a party to go to after the hike as a reward.”

Pairing the events has worked well because the hike always attracts a diverse crowd, Raymore said. “It’s a mix. Couples, families, individuals come for the hike.”

Festival attendees can see ice sculptures, watch ice-carving demonstrations and sample live entertainment both indoors and out. The free event also offers an “iceless” skating rink and ice games. Last year, children loved an outdoor version of Skee-Ball where the playing surface was ice, Raymore said.

Many area restaurants and stores will be open during Frozen Festival so attendees can go inside and warm up. Last year, the weather was unusually warm. Rather than let that impact the fun, organizers handed out Hawaiian leis. “The weather was lovely, but the ice sculptures didn’t hold up so well,” Raymore said.