Cambridge pulls off first Ice and Oyster Festival, planning for next year
CAMBRIDGE, Md. – The first-ever Ice and Oyster Festival kicked off this past weekend and the city of Cambridge found a way to work around the blizzard and bring the community a unique, new event.
We’re told the festival has been in the works for months, and although the festival was limited to one day instead of two because of the recent snowfall, almost 3,000 people showed up on Friday. “It was a huge response from the community, much bigger than we anticipated,” says Bill Christopher, President, and CEO of Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce.
Christopher tells us, in addition to COVID-19, this time of year is tough for many businesses. That’s why organizers scrambled to make adjustments, and with almost 50 ice sculptures to showcase, the downtown area turned into a winter wonderland.
“That kind of traffic is what we were after with the event was to bring people into downtown in a weekend where there’s normally nobody here,” says Christopher. He adds, “They were doing what we wanted them to do, they were going to the restaurants downtown, all the restaurants were packed, they all did a great job, a couple ran out of food!”
Local business owner, Beth Kline tells 47 ABC, the festivities brought them some much-needed extra business. However, she says it was the community’s spirit that was the best part for her.
“Kids were making s’mores around the fire pits, they were playing corn-hole, it was just really a great family experience,” says Kline. She adds, “It was good and it gets people walking around and just excited about Cambridge and just people already talking about next year.”
Christopher and Kline both say the gathering showed just how resilient Cambridge can be. “We’ve had everybody asking us to do it next year so once we’ve recovered from this one, we’ll start talking about planning and figuring out what we’ll do to do it again,” says Christopher. Kline adds, “Now that we have one under our belt, we can only go up from here.”
City officials tell us, if this past weekend taught them anything, it’s how to make next year’s ice and oyster festival bigger and better. Organizers of the festival say they’re hoping to make plans in case of snowfall next year, and are hoping to expand the venue.
The city is also already planning on bringing back more events this year that were canceled due to the pandemic.