- Christmas InDurham
Answering your questions about Durham’s ice festival in inclement weather
With Britain taking a battering over the past few weeks thanks to Storms Ciara and Denis, and with further inclement weather forecast for this weekend, we’re pleased to tell you that despite wet and windy weather on the horizon, we’re not letting in dampen our spirits, and still plan for Fire&Ice InDurham to go ahead as usual.
We understand that if you’re planning on visiting Fire&Ice InDurham; Travelling Through Time this weekend, you might have some questions or concerns about how the inclement weather may impact your trip to this firm family-favourite ice festival. Well worry not! We’ve prepared some FAQs for you…
Is it on?
In short, YES! We’re still planning for Fire&Ice InDurham to go ahead. We may have to make changes to the running order of the day but we intend for the ice sculptures, live carvings, have a go carving walls and chocolate blocks will be in the City from 10am.
The greatest threat to ice at this time of the year is actually wind. Therefore, if you are planning on coming to Durham to enjoy the festival, come earlier in the day and then enjoy what else the City has to offer.
We know the weather is going to be bad, why are you still ploughing ahead if you know the winds will ruin the ice faster than usual?
The elements will naturally erode the ice. Statistically, February would be one of the better months for an ice festival. Any later in the year and we are more likely to see warmer temperatures. Unfortunately, we can’t control the Great British weather!
If we're expecting storms, are you putting people at risk by still advising them to come into the City?
Naturally, if a danger to life warning is issued by the Met Office, then we will act appropriately. However, there are parameters within which it is more than safe to visit Durham and we would not dissuade anyone for coming to the City when it is safe to do so.
When will you decide if the evening spectacular is going ahead?
We will be monitoring the winds during the course of the day and keeping a close eye on the weather forecast. If there is a risk that too much water may be blown out of the pond used in the finale then we will use our social media pages to inform visitors to the City of any cancellation. If water is blown from the fountains and pools onto spectators, then naturally we will not only be making a great many people wet and miserable and causing a safety hazard, but we will also run the risk of running out of water.
A final decision will be made at 2pm. Regardless of whether the grand finale is going ahead or not, we will make an announcement to update visitors to the City so they know what’s going on, and how the event will conclude for the day in the face of adverse weather conditions.
What time will the ice sculptures be taken in/removed?
Providing there are no extreme weather warnings that could impact Fire&Ice InDurham; Travelling Through Time, the sculptures will be unveiled for 10am. As they are made of ice, they are susceptible to erosion from the elements and so we can’t give a time by which they will be removed or melted. We will be making live announcements and updates throughout the course of the festival on our social media channels, so please do keep an eye on our Facebook page.
Will they be taken in/removed earlier than planned?
As the sculptures are made of ice, they are susceptible to erosion from the elements and so we can’t give a time by which they will be removed or melted. We will be making live announcements and updates throughout the course of the festival on our social media channels, so please do keep an eye on our Facebook page.
Who makes the decision to remove the ice sculptures/cancel the evening finale?
The decision will be a collaborative one between Durham BID and AH Events, based on weather forecasts and the impact such will have on the event.
Will the live carvings still happen if it is raining?
Yes – as the moment everything is still scheduled to go ahead as planned! Our talented sculptors are used to getting wet when working. Don’t let a little bit of rain put you off enjoying the largest annual draw to Durham.
If the weather is bad, will the event be rescheduled?
No. Fire&Ice InDurham; Travelling Through Time will be happening over the Half Term weekend as planned to the best of our ability. In 2019 we battled record high temperatures. In 2020 it looks like it might be a little windy. Though wind will erode the ice quicker than we would like, we’re still planning for the sculptures to be out in the City from 10am.
Due to the expected levels of erosion we recommend you come early. Wrap up warm, bundled up against the wind and enjoy the City and everything it has to offer. Take the ice trail around the City and then go for a bite to eat, go to the cinema, go explore Open Treasure at The Cathedral, walk along the river or treat yourselves in the shops. There is so much to see and do in the City!
Why won't you re-run/reschedule the event for a later date?
There is much planning that goes into events such as these and we are not just reliant on local support. The sculptors are working year round and the event is planned a year in advance.
We have noticed that the sculptures have melted really quickly.
Sadly the biggest threat to ice sculptures at this time of year is wind as it erodes the ice quicker than rain or even sunlight. We hold Fire&Ice InDurham in February as it is statistically the best month for us to expect favourable conditions. However, occasionally Mother Nature throws us a curve ball. Last year She sent us temperatures in the high teens. This year it is wind. Don’t let it spoil your day. Simply come into Durham early. The sculptures are on display from 10am.
Will the locations of the sculptures change because of the weather?
Some sculptures will be more susceptible to the effects of the wind than others, simply due to their location. Though we try and provide as much protection as possible, it is impossible to shield all the sculptures using the buildings of the City and still have a trail. If you are desperate to see the Viking Longship, (number four on the trail map) or the Astronaut, (number nine), make sure you head to Framwelgate Bridge and Elvet Bridge first.
Can't you just move the sculptures indoors or to a more sheltered location?
We make every effort to use buildings to shield the sculptures, but this isn’t always possible. Unfortunately, we can’t move the sculptures indoors, because as they melt during the course of the day, each installation needs a drainage system to let the water flow away. We’d end up with some very wet businesses and other premises in Durham otherwise!
Is there a better day to come to Fire&Ice InDurham, or is the forecast bad for the Friday and Saturday?
We constantly monitor the weather forecast but cannot suggest which day would be better for you to come to Durham. The forecast can change quickly and so we suggest that you check the local forecast.
What about Saturday - will there be anything to see if ice sculptures are melting too quickly on Friday?
The sculptures are fresh each day and so if you feel as though you missed something on Friday, come back on Saturday. Remember, the earlier you come the better the sculptures will be.
Why do you keep doing outdoor events that are at risk of bad weather - isn't that the reason Balloons InDurham was cancelled last year?
A vast majority of public events across the country are outdoors. The BID delivers upwards of 40 events a year, many based within businesses themselves.
If Fire&Ice InDurham is cancelled or won't run as originally planned, what's the next big event for Durham BID - Balloons InDurham - or will that not run this year too?
All major events will be promoted in due course and whilst events are in planning it would not be appropriate to raise expectations around potential delivery.
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So there you have it! Bottom line is its very much business as usual, unless we have to make any last minute changes, which we’ll share with you as soon as we can via our Facebook page.
Wrap up warm, get cosy and remember to arrive in the City as early as you can, so you and your family can enjoy this special trip through time with Fire&Ice InDurham. We hope this blog post will have helped to answer any questions you may have. Of course, if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.
Thank you and we can’t wait to welcome you to the City for Fire&Ice InDurham; Travelling Through Time very soon!