Lisa Abraham

CUYAHOGA FALLS: Terry Wert ascended the icy throne, sat up straight and tall and flashed a big smile for his wife, Joyce, who stood ready with her camera.


“It’s just beautiful,” Joyce Wert said as she looked at the glassy image she had captured on her screen.


The throne, carved of a solid block of ice, has the design of a sunburst on its back. It sparkled in the midday sunshine Saturday as visitors to Falls River Square took turns sitting and posing for photographs.


“It’s not too bad,” said Wert, a Tallmadge resident. “It’s just cold. It’s nice that they put that piece of carpet on it, so you don’t get wet pants.”


The giant ice throne was just one of the attractions drawing visitors to downtown Cuyahoga Falls this weekend for the Frozen River Festival. The event continues today from 3 to 8 p.m. on Front Street.


The festival is the first of a series of events this year to mark the 200th anniversary of the city’s founding. It features ice-carving demonstrations by the University of Akron’s ice- carving team, as well as ice skating on the city’s rink.


Susan Truby, the city’s community and economic development director, said there will be an event every month this year, including a 10-day bicentennial celebration Aug. 3-12 that includes parades, a rhythm and blues festival and a flotilla on the Cuyahoga River that will run through town.


February’s event will be a giant children’s birthday party at the city’s Natatorium, Truby said. The Feb. 19 party runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.


One of Saturday’s highlights was the tapping of the first keg of Bicentennial Old Ale, crafted by Akron’s Thirsty Dog Brewery for the 200th celebration.


Thirsty Dog owner John Najeway said his brewery is creating two beers for the anniversary: the Old Ale, to reflect the city’s first 100 years, and a lighter-style beer that will debut this summer to reflect the drink popular in the last 100 years.


He said the Bicentennial Old Ale represents the kind of beer that would have been popular at the time of the city’s founding. The ale is dark and heavy with 7 percent alcohol. Its flavor has a hint of dark chocolate with hops used to balance the drink and bring a touch of bitterness, Najeway said.


Bicentennial Old Ale is on sale at the festival and will be available in local grocery stores and at the Thirsty Dog brewery on Grant Street in Akron. It will also be on tap at several area restaurants, including the Firehouse Grill & Pub, Village Gardens restaurant, the Cashmere Cricket in Cuyahoga Falls and the Office Bistro in Akron.


Sarah’s Vineyard winery from the Falls is pouring wine at the festival and selling a commemorative etched wine glass for the Bicentennial. Also, Sisters Scented Candles has created a candle just for the occasion. The Crooked River Candle is layered in red, white and blue and is scented with vanilla, cinnamon and a fresh water smell, candle-maker Sue Evans said.


Admission to the festival is free. Admission to the ice rink is free for residents with the CFOne card and $3 for others. Skate rental is also $3. The rink will remain open through Feb. 20 at Falls River Square.


Lisa Abraham can be reached at 330-996-3737 or at labraham@thebeaconjournal.com.