Meltdown Ice Festival in Richmond

Did you know about the Meltdown Winter Ice Festival in Richmond, Indiana?

Richmond has been a meetup point or a halfway point for our family for many years. When we’re visiting with relatives in Dayton, Ohio or meeting them for a quick weeknight dinner, we’ve stopped in Richmond. A few years ago, we found ourselves stopping to swim in the Richmond waterfall, Thistlethwaite Falls. A few summers ago, we returned and explored and took part in all of the family fun — we needed more than a weekend.

For the past few winters, we’ve returned to Richmond to experience one of our favorite winter weekends; The Meltdown Winter Ice Festival. The Meltdown Winter Ice Festival takes places January 29-31, 2021. To see a full schedule, visit

Ice Festival in Richmond, Indiana

Every year, professional ice carvers from all over the world descend upon Richmond each January to help create a winter wonderland in Downtown Richmond. Visitors and residents alike gather on the streets and watch the carvers get to work on their amazing ice sculptures. Their tools include chainsaws and fire — and it’s a scene that you have to see!

Things are a little different during 2021 due to COVID< but typically, local businesses open their doors with special events, themed activities and a whole lot of family fun. The famous Richmond Fairy Trail turns in to a Frozen Fairy Trail, where families search all over town for the little fairy doors marked on the map. The Richmond Visitor Center hosts fun activities and crafts and sells fairy attire. However, it cannot be argued that the main event is hands-down, the BEST event; for two nights, the ice carvers take the stage in Elstro Plaza for a competitive carving Throwdown worthy of national television. This free event is interactive, as the audience cheers and chants for their favorites and ultimately decides the champion.

For the 2021 version of the Richmond Meltdown Ice Festival, there won’t be any large public gatherings, but instead, downtown Richmond will turn in to an ice sculpture gallery! Beautiful ice creations will be situated throughout the town.

No word yet on the interactive ice Play Zone that’s usually a hit in Elstro Plaza, but we’ll let you know.

Portions of our visit to Richmond were provided complimentary for the purpose of creating this article, however, all of the Winter Meltdown Ice Festival activities that are mentioned above are free for everyone.

Where to Eat in Richmond

There are many delicious options when it comes to eating in a restaurant in Richmond, here are a few of the best restaurants we’ve tried.

Firehouse BBQ & Blues

The menu at Firehouse BBQ & Blues is sure to please any palate, especially that of a carnivore. True to its name, on weekend evenings, you’re likely to enjoy live music on the stage. This is a wonderfully family friendly restaurant, but those with young children may want to wrap up before the music starts. I can wholeheartedly recommend the Beef Brisket and the Smokehouse Tacos. The Cheesy Potatoes will melt in your mouth and you’ll think about them throughout the year, anxiously awaiting your next visit. For something sweet, ask for the s’mores sampler!

Galo’s Italian Grill

If you’re looking for good food, a relaxed but cushy ambiance and great service, Galo’s Italian Grill is the perfect for dinner or lunch. Like most Italian restaurants, you’ll find great food options for the kiddos while enjoying rich “adult” food.

Here are 10 more ideas of FREE things to do with kids when visiting Richmond.

Where to Stay in Richmond

Check with Visit Richmond to find the perfect accommodations for your family. Hotels, bed and breakfasts and more can be found on their website or when you contact the Richmond Visitor Center. We’ve always stayed at the same hotel.

Hampton Inn & Suites

Perfect for families — a kitchenette in your suite (confirm when booking your room, suites may vary), an indoor pool, a free hot breakfast and plenty of space to stretch out in your room.

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