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MILLERS MILLS GRANGE # 581
107 Finger Ave, West Winfield, NY 13491
Ice Harvest on Thin Ice
The 2017 Ice Harvest is cancelled due to “no ice”. Sweetheart Raffle tickets (see below) are still on sale. Please buy one to support our Grange.
Package #1: Spa basket
Package #2: Dinner basket
Package #3: Wine basket.
$5 per ticket. Contact Judy
==================== Posted July 31=======================
Hopeful that the predicted colder temperatures for the first week of February will bring about a much needed “miracle of ice”, the Millers Mills Community continues preparation for their annual Ice Harvest. Winters for the past few years have been strange, to say the least, and the harvest has been canceled 6 times since the millennium due to the lack or poor condition of the ice. This year’s event is set for Sunday, February 12, 2017, and serves as both an opportunity for visitors to step back in time and as a major fund raiser for the Grange.
The use of old hand tools to saw, separate, and load the ice blocks onto horse-drawn sleighs maintains the authenticity of a 19th century ice harvest. The only exception is the antique, gas-powered machine used to score the ice the day before. This insures that the blocks are relatively uniform in size and easier to cut and handle. The harvest begins at 11 AM and continues until the ice house is full in mid afternoon. Visitors are encouraged to participate in cutting the ice.
Ice harvesting has occurred in Millers Mills since its founding by Andrew Miller over two centuries ago. Then ice was needed to preserve food and to cool farmers’ milk. After electricity arrived in 1941, the community church, and later the Grange, continued harvesting ice to make ice cream for summer socials. Today the Millers Mills Ice Harvest has become a nationally known community effort to preserve and share a small facet of rural American heritage.
Members of the Eastern Regional Draft Horse Association and their teams of draft horses haul the ice from the Millers Mills pond to the ice house a short distance away. Packed in sawdust and snow, the ice blocks last well into the following summer. The empty sleighs provide rides back to the pond.
Visitors can warm up with homemade soup, hot dogs, donuts and hot chocolate at the Grange Hall. Nearby the Community Baptist Church offers chili, baked goods and a flea market. A historical exhibit will also be on display at the Grange hall. The Grange will offer several “Sweetheart” raffles whether or not the ice harvest occurs. Contact any Grange member or the Grange, through its website listed below, for a ticket.
Millers Mills is located in the town of Columbia in extreme southern Herkimer County. Use the Grange address of 107 Finger Ave in your GPS. Watch for signs to Millers Mills Rd off Route 51 or Jones Road off Jordanville Road. Parking is available on either road. Dress warmly and bring your camera.
For more information or to check the status of the ice, visit the Millers Mills Grange website, www.millersmillsny.com or call 315-822-5283 or 315-822-3003.