An ice sculptor works on his craft during a past  Fire and Ice Festival in downtown Rochester.

An ice sculptor works on his craft during a past Fire and Ice Festival in downtown Rochester.

Photo provided by the city of Rochester

Fire and Ice to heat up downtown Rochester this weekend

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published January 16, 2019


ROCHESTER — The Fire and Ice Festival will return to downtown Rochester this weekend, officials said, no matter what the weather has in store.

“No matter how far we push it into January, we are always at the mercy of the weather, and we have made contingencies for that,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “We’ve faced this problem before, where there has been no snow, but we made some accommodations … and whether we have snow or not, we are prepared to move forward with it.”

The 12th annual festival — which will run 5-9 p.m. Jan. 18, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Jan. 19 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 20 at East Second and Mill streets in downtown Rochester — features dog sledding demonstrations and rides, face painting, kids activities, and — if temperatures remain above freezing — a climbing tower, zip line rides, cornhole, hayrides and other, warmer-weather activities. There will also be marshmallow roasting, a cartoon character-themed ice sculpture show on Main Street, live ice carving demonstrations, pet adoptions, a K-9 demonstration, carriage rides, the Brooksie Way Chill at the Mills 5K Race at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, music, shopping and more. All activities are free, including a fireworks display near the corner of East Third and Water streets at 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. A concert by Rochester College’s a cappella group, Autumn, will precede the fireworks.

“Michigan is a land of splendor, and even in the wintertime, there is an opportunity to enjoy it, regardless of what the weather provides,” Rochester Mayor Rob Ray said.

Throughout the weekend, attendees can grab a bite to eat or enjoy a beverage at a food truck rally or the Tastefest Tent.

The Rochester Fire Department will hold a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to benefit the Rochester Area Youth Assistance group 5-8 p.m. Jan. 18 and 4-8 p.m. Jan. 19 at the main fire station, 277 E. Second St., as well as a pancake breakfast fundraiser to benefit RAYA 9 a.m.-noon Jan. 20.

Those who haven’t yet seen the Big, Bright Light Show will get a final chance to view the lights 5 p.m.-midnight all three nights.

The Fire and Ice Festival is presented by the Fire and Ice Festival Committee, the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department and the city of Rochester. It is sponsored by Vibe Credit Union this year.

In past years, nearly 50,000 people from more than 35 communities have traveled to Rochester to enjoy the festival. 

Patterson said county officials purposefully picked Rochester to host the event 12 years ago, and they have been very pleased with their selection.

“Rochester is a very family-oriented community, with a lot of town spirit and a lot of town pride, and for them to turn out 50,000 people for this event really amazed us. It really amazed us that this event became so popular so quickly,” Patterson said. 

Ray said the event has become a cornerstone of the community. 

“It’s an opportunity to showcase all that is good in the city, and certainly why it’s a good place to live, work and play,” he said. 

A free shuttle service for the festival will be available at Buffalo Wild Wings, 1234 Walton Blvd. in Rochester Hills. For more information about the festival, visit or

Call Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at (586) 498-1060.