A long tradition spanning centuries makes its return to Central New York this February. Whether you participate every year or you're someone looking for a new tradition, the entire family will love participating in the Millers Mills Ice Harvest.

Each year people from near and far gather at Millers Mills to help cut the ice blocks from the pond. Everyone young and old is invited onto the ice to help saw it into chunks. Once the ice has been cut, a team of draft horses drag the blocks up to the icehouse. They are then packed in sawdust and snow, staying frozen well into summer.

Locals have harvested ice from Millers Mills Pond for over two centuries. Back then the ice was used to preserve food and keep local farmers milk cool. Electricity changed things in the 1940's, creating almost no need for ice harvesting each winter. The community church decided to keep harvesting the ice to freeze their custard for summer ice cream socials. Now, it's an annual tradition to show the roots of the town.

Photo Credit: Christine Huxtable
Photo Credit: Christine Huxtable

Millers Mills itself is located in southern Herkimer County. The address for the Grange is at 107 Finger Avenue. Parking and admission to the harvest is completely free. Chili, hot dogs, donuts and hot chocolate are served from the Grange Hall. The Ice Harvest is currently scheduled for Sunday, February 13th. Cutting begins at 11am.

The town is reminding everyone that the event is subject to Mother Nature. Judging by the long stretch of cold weather we've been experiencing in the region the past week, there shouldn't be a problem with the event continuing this year as scheduled.

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