Frost Festival blows into town Jan. 19-20

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published January 17, 2024


ROCHESTER — Just as the cabin fever begins to set in, downtown Rochester is offering a chance to embrace the winter weather during the city’s first Frost Festival.

“Christmas has passed, people are starting to get stir crazy and maybe want to be outside and do some shopping and dining, and they can check out all the ice sculptures in town,” said Downtown Development Events Coordinator Jenna O’Dell.

Held Jan. 19-20, the event promises a weekend filled with icy delights, from under-the-sea themed ice sculptures to a carving competition, topped off with a shopping and dining bingo game that will have residents and visitors exploring the heart of the city, O’Dell said.

The event is a smaller version of the Fire and Ice Festival, which the city typically partners with Oakland County to host. Although organizers said the county could not commit to the Fire and Ice Festival this year, the Rochester DDA still wanted to host a winter event, so it created the Frost Festival.

“Like all of our events, it’s fun for families and everyone of all ages to just come out, check out the ice sculptures, do some shopping and enter for a chance to win a big downtown Rochester shopping spree,” O’Dell said.

Throughout the weekend, downtown visitors can dive into the world beneath the waves as ice sculptors bring the ocean to life with under-the-sea-themed creations along Main Street and other streets around the downtown.

On Friday, Jan. 19, guests can enjoy marshmallow roasting 5-9 p.m. hosted by the Lions Club, try their hand at ice cornhole and view a live ice carving demonstration 6-8 p.m., sponsored by Modetz Funeral Home, all at West Third Street in downtown Rochester.

The fun continues on Saturday, Jan. 20, with an ice carving competition 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on West Fourth Street, as well as marshmallow roasting 10 a.m.-6 p.m. hosted by the Lions Club. Ice cornhole and a live ice carving demonstration will be held 4-6 p.m., sponsored by Cafe 3:16, all at West Third Street.

Over the weekend, patrons who shop or dine downtown can enter the Frost Fest bingo game for a chance to win a $500 downtown Rochester shopping spree. Bingo cards are available at the Rochester DDA, 431 Main St.; Spice & Tea Exchange, 120 E. Fourth St.; Bitter Tom’s, 319 Main St.; or South Street Skateshop, 410 Main St. All purchases and activities must be completed Jan. 19-20.

“We will produce a bingo card that patrons can pick up at a variety of different locations. Once you complete an activity — like, for instance, maybe dining at a downtown restaurant — ask your server for a stamp, and if you get a five in a row bingo for different activities, you will be in a drawing to win a $500 downtown shopping spree,” O’Dell said.

Once people have five in a row, bingo, they can text a picture of their bingo card to (866) 603-4005 for a chance to win. The winner will be contacted on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

There will also be a host of promotions offered by downtown merchants.

Linda Gallaher, the owner of South Street Skateshop, encourages people to enjoy the outdoor winter event with family and friends.

“It’s a great way to connect with your community, enjoy family fun and create traditions,” she said.

The Frost Festival is free to attend, and organizers say it will go on in any weather.

For more information, visit, email or call the Rochester DDA at (248) 656-0060.