By Kelly Burch
---- — With the holidays long gone and spring still far away, February can feel like a bleak month.
However, a new event in Portsmouth, N.H., promises to infuse some fun into the middle of the month. The Fire & Ice Festival, set for Feb. 13-17, will deliver dog sleds, outdoor bars and top-notch entertainment to the community.
The citywide event will build on a similar festival that Portsmouth Gas Light Co. has hosted for the past three years. This year, the weekend will be organized by the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce and will incorporate family-friendly activities during the day in addition to the evening schedule.
“The first annual Portsmouth Fire & Ice Festival is a direct outgrowth of the collaborative brainstorming that took place among the businesses who rely on the tourism dollars that contribute so much to the community,” said Valerie Rochon, tourism manager for the Chamber of Commerce. “Fire & Ice builds on events that were already happening in the city to give couples and families an additional reason to make Portsmouth their Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekend holiday getaway.”
Portsmouth Gas Light Co.’s Ice Fest runs Friday through Sunday evenings, with three ice bars, fire pits, ice luges, wood fire-grilled food and ice sculptures.
Strawbery Banke Museum will host a hearth-cooking workshop and dinner on Friday, Winter Night in Pitt Tavern on Saturday and dog sled rides on Sunday.
New Hampshire Public Television will screen films at Seacoast Repertory Theatre selected to promote their group tour to Iceland in June with Willem Lange. The Players’ Ring will showcase performances by Patrick Dorow Productions. And the Discover Portsmouth Center continues its “Flowers of Winter” exhibit with a special program at 11 a.m. Saturday morning.
Thursday, Feb. 13
The Port Inn Opening Night Party, 5 to 7 p.m., 505 U.S. 1 Bypass. Debut of renovated lobby and guest room designs; fire pit and ice sculptures outside.
“Romeo and Juliet” screening, 7 p.m., The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St. Starring Orlando Bloom. $22.
Friday, Feb. 14
President’s Day weekend hearth-cooking workshop, Strawbery Banke Museum, 14 Hancock St. $65. Advance reservations required at www.strawberybanke.org or 603-433-1110.
Portsmouth Gas Light Co. Ice Fest charity night, 6 p.m., 64 Market St. Three ice bars, fire pits, ice luges, wood fire-grilled food and ice sculptures, with all proceeds to benefit Pro Portsmouth, Strawbery Banke and Seacoast Repertory Theatre.
“La Dolce Vita,” 8 p.m., The Music Hall Loft. Retro cabaret with the Gaudy Baubles. $38.25, includes dessert.
Saturday, Feb. 15
“Flowers of Winter” exhibit, 11 a.m., Discover Portsmouth Center, 10 Middle St. Featuring speaker David Park Curry.
NHPTV presents winter films, throughout the day, Seacoast Repertory Theatre, 125 Bow St. Free.
Fire & Ice Fest Bar Crawl & Cocktail Competition, 2 to 6 p.m. Start at Rudi’s Portsmouth Restaurant, Congress Street, between 2 and 3 to purchase ballots and receive wristband. $10 per person, must be 21 or older to participate.
Portsmouth Gas Light Co. Ice Fest, 6 p.m. Three ice bars, fire pits, ice luges, wood fire-grilled food and ice sculptures.
Winter Night at Pitt Tavern, 7 to 10 p.m., Strawbery Banke Museum. Live acoustic music, beer and tavern food. $22.50.
Sunday, Feb. 16
Dog Sled Rides, 10 a.m to 4 p.m., Puddle Dock, Strawbery Banke. Provided by Seal Cove Dog Sledding. $20 for up to three children. Free demonstration of miniature portrait painting, re-creating the traditional oil-on-copper style popular in the eras of presidents Washington and Lincoln, presented by Strawbery Banke artist-in-residence Alan Ammann in the Tyco Visitors Center.
Performances by Patrick Dorow Productions, noon to 6 p.m., Players’ Ring, 105 Marcy St. Free.
Portsmouth Gas Light Co. Ice Fest, noon.
Fire and Ice-Themed Pecha Kucha, Portsmouth Gas Light Co. Doors open at 6 p.m.; presentations begin at 7. Presenters are asked to bring 20 slides related to the night’s theme but are only given 20 seconds to explain each one.
If you go
What: Portsmouth Fire and Ice Festival
Where: Downtown Portsmouth, N.H.
When: Thursday, Feb. 13, through Monday, Feb. 17
More information: www.strawberybanke.org