EAST MEREDITH — It may have been too cold for ice cream Saturday, but the ice harvest at Hanford Mills Museum went on as planned with just that in mind.
Chilly, clear weather contributed to a successful ice harvest during the museum’s annual event, an organizer said. With temperatures hovering in the 20s for most of the afternoon, ice blocks were cut from the museum pond and stored for making ice cream the old-fashioned way during Hanford Mills’ Fourth of July celebration.
More than 500 people attended Saturday’s festival to take part in a lineup of activities that included ice fishing, horse-drawn wagon rides and cutting the ice blocks that give the event its name.
Executive Director Liz Callahan said she was happy with the attendance and gave some credit to Mother Nature.
“The weather can make or break this event,” Callahan said. “Of course, if it is drizzling rain or really miserable, it is not as much fun to walk around and do things. The weather today has been great for it.”
A soup kitchen was sponsored, and donations came from several restaurants in Oneonta and Delhi. Woodfire cooking demonstrations offered a taste of homemade candies. Ice house demonstrations kept many busy as they transported ice from the pond and moved indoors for packing and storage.
“The simple physics of preserving food is part of our history,” Callahan explained. “Besides learning about the simple steps that people took in the past to conserve their food without refrigeration, I think many people just enjoy the idea of these demonstrations. As a society, when we learn some of these things, they can be steps to look at our own lives. Many can take home ideas, if only small ones, toward helping their families move as a society toward a more sustainable future.”
The Hanford Mills Museum’s preservation, operations and programs are supported by the O’Connor Foundation, the Santora Trust and the C.J. Heillig Foundation.