BELFAST —The Belfast Ice Festival is returning to downtown Belfast, Feb. 25, 26 and 27.

Conceived as a way to celebrate and embrace winter, last year’s inaugural event drew thousands of people to enjoy ice sculptures, live ice carving demonstrations, and ice bars throughout downtown Befast.

“Everyone starts to get a little stir-crazy toward the end of February,” said Tina DelSanto, a downtown business owner and one of the organizers. “The event is a fun way to get people outside and moving around.”

Like last year’s event, this year’s Belfast Ice Festival will include ice sculptures throughout the downtown area, live ice carving demonstrations, and several ice bars. Additional activities this year include a luminary walk on the Rail Trail and a children’s area. An added feature for 2022 will be the State of Maine Ice Carving Championship.

Ryan Otis, another organizer and downtown business owner, said, “Last year’s event was so much fun and came together at the last minute. When we started thinking about this year’s event, we knew we had more time to plan, so we looked for ways to expand and grow the event. One of the best ideas we had was the addition of the State of Maine Ice Carving Championship.”

This first-year event will be limited to 10 teams, and both amateurs and professionals are encouraged to sign up. The organizers will provide the ice blocks, and the carvers, individuals or teams, provide the tools.

A panel of judges and input from the public will help crown the winner of the inaugural championship.

Support for the 2022 event includes local business sponsors and a Maine Communities Grant from the Maine Office of Tourism.

Plans for the weekend are still being finalized; for the latest information, visit ourtownbelfast.org/ice.