It’s been an unbearably cold winter on the East End of Long Island, one that has brought record-breaking temperatures, heavy snow falls and frigid winds. But among the pitfalls of winter, one exciting event is returning this weekend that will make the entire season worth it: HarborFrost.
It’s once again time to celebrate winter with the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce’s HarborFrost, a weekend-long winter festival that will make you want to bundle up and head outdoors from Friday, February 27, to Sunday, March 1.
Five years ago, HarborFrost started as single day to motivate the Sag Harbor community to go outdoors in February. “The Chamber had all different events throughout the rest of the year,” says Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Field. “But, there was nothing to do in the winter months. We went back and forth, talking about a winter event for two or three years, and finally the board said, ‘Ok, we’re going for it. Let’s do this.’” And with that decision, HarborFrost, what is now one of the East End’s biggest winter celebrations, was born.
The inaugural HarborFrost, in 2010, was much smaller than the HarborFrost we know today, but its success was nothing short of remarkable. “People do want to come out…people are looking to get out of the house and celebrate winter,” Field says. Now, the three events that encompassed the entire event just five years ago—fire dancing, ice sculpting and fireworks—have become iconic headliners of the three-day long festival.
Kicking off HarborFrost on Friday evening is the third annual Frost Ball, a cocktail party where attendees will have the chance to win raffle prizes as they enjoy an open bar and live music. This year also brings a new event to Friday evening, the Yankee Doodle Circus, a show for the entire family that is sponsored by the Pierson Teacher’s Association.
Saturday holds the majority of HarborFrost’s activities and festival-goers will be busy for the entire day. Starting at noon is the first Ice Carving session, which Field says is one of the two activities that she’s looking forward to the most. “I find the talent that is involved in taking a block of ice and turning it into a piece of art amazing. And it’s different every year!”
Field’s other favorite HarborFrost event is the Frosty Plunge, a chance for the bravest East Enders to take a dip into the chilly Sag Harbor waters off Windmill Beach, has been canceled this year due to unsafe water conditions.
In addition to these ice-inspired events, Saturday brings live music sessions throughout the town, a culinary stroll through Sag Harbor to sample local restaurants, and special events from the town’s businesses, including a visit from Anna and Elsa of Frozen at the Sag Harbor Variety Store.
Of course, Saturday evening includes HarborFrost’s famous fireworks show, which Field urges everyone to come see. “There is such a difference in the way that fireworks look against the winter sky,” she says. “The entire show is the grand finale.”
This year, two special events wrap up Saturday night. Following the fireworks is a special spaghetti dinner held by Old Whaler’s Church, a great dinner option for families with children. End the night by getting warm indoors and having a laugh at the Bay Street Theater’s comedy show. Those who return for Sunday morning can attend a pancake breakfast in support of the Sag Harbor Firehouse and a hike through Mashashimuet Park.
Don’t let the cold weather keep you away from HarborFrost, Fields says. “It’s worth coming out for. Yes, it’s cold outside, but that’s not really a complaint you hear at HarborFrost. We’re all sick of the snow, but now we can celebrate winter!”
For a full schedule of HarborFrost Events, questions, and ticket information, visit the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce’s website at sagharborchamber.com.