The Return of SocialIce
Enjoying Winter with Creative Ice Bars and Enjoying Winter with Creative Ice Bars and Drinks

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Creativity doesn’t only show up on a plate in the food and restaurant industry. For the past 13 years, restaurants in downtown Rochester have had the opportunity to showcase their cold-weather talents at Rochester’s signature downtown winter event, SocialIce. Rochester’s coolest event is set to return February 3-5, 2022. The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) is hard at work confirming logistics and details in the “new normal” of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, SocialIce will return to form and once again feature restaurant-sponsored, themed ice bars and drinks, DJ’s, lights and FAM JAM on February 5 for the younger crowd.

In 2021, SocialIce shifted to Improv-ICE, a COVID-19 adaption with an emphasis on a community ice sculpture design and physical distancing for safety. Instead of the large gathering of 38,000 to 67,500 people through the week of the event, participants were self-directed, taking photos of ice sculptures in Peace Plaza and buying take-out meals from downtown restaurants. Charity donations were also part of Improv-ICE.

This year Zach Ohly and his team at Cameo at the Castle are planning on doing a Harry Potter-themed ice bar. “We have some very creative and passionate employees who like to spearhead these kinds of projects,” says Ohly. “We did a Star Wars theme in 2020, and the staff is excited for Harry Potter this year. Ideally, we will be able to create Hogwarts, Gringotts, and Diagon Alley displays, with a portable bar for ease of service.”

“There aren’t too many winter events for the downtown area,” continues Ohly, “and after the past 18 months, the hospitality sector needs all the support we can manage. SocialIce also breaks up the long winter months. It’s really something both the community and businesses look forward to.”

Cafe Steam will be at SocialIce to offer their usual non-alcoholic beverage choices at their mobile espresso bar. Owner Will Forsman says, “We’ll be providing hot chocolate, coffee and our signature event drink, the Churchill, which is coffee with smoked cinnamon and bourbon vanilla syrup. The idea for SocialIce is to have the same vibe as Thursdays Downtown and to be safe as well. We’re looking forward to making it happen.”

RDA says it “will continue to collaborate with Olmsted County Public Health regarding the latest COVID-19 guidelines and adjust event plans as needed. Event-goers should anticipate a slightly more spacious event layout than in years past in order to increase opportunities for physical distancing.”

Rochester Women Magazine is looking forward to what gets served (and carved) up this year. See you there!


Check the RDA’s website for SocialIce 2022 updates at 


About Author

In her 15 years of living in southeast Minnesota, Rochester Women Magazine has been Anastasia’s touchstone for the many communities of women in our city and region. She is so grateful to contribute to this amazing resource. As a nonprofit and education volunteer and staffer, mom, and gardener, all of her passions can be found on these pages, and she looks forward to helping develop more content. When not writing articles, she can be found reading, running, gardening and enjoying time with family and friends.

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