Yes, the iceworm is a real creature, discovered in the 1800s. But Cordova’s oldest festival—which started back in 1961—is more about offering a cure for the winter blues. And this weeklong festival still happens during the hopeful time of year when the days are starting to get longer; it kicks off in late January and stretches into early February.
While many of the town’s other festivals are focused on education or sustainability, this one is entirely about fun. People celebrate the light returning, the days growing longer, and of course bringing the community together. It’s put on by a local volunteer board (the “Iceworm Board,” of course) and local businesses.
The big events happen on the Saturday of the festival. You won’t want to miss the parade, which includes a 100-foot-long iceworm—similar to a Chinese dragon. There are fireworks, a variety show, an oyster shuck-and-suck, and a baby iceworm birthday party that’s super-fun for kids.
There’s also a lot happening during the week leading up to Saturday. The tail of the 100-foot-long iceworm is hidden in town, and new clues are released every day about its location. Find it and you can win $100! You can also enjoy tournaments for everything from volleyball, basketball, and disc golf to poker, dominos, and cribbage. And great food abounds, especially at the chili cookoff.