Rainbow-colored ice cascades above Route 119 in Connellsville
Driving along Route 119 near Connellsville, motorists can see green, blue and red ice cascading down the side of a cliff along Buttermore Boulevard.
While a guess might be that it’s a reaction to minerals in the ground or other natural sources, the actual source of the landscape art is two people, an eyewitness said.
Pam Spataro was driving home from her job at Miedel’s Restaurant this week when she saw them at the cliff with a bucket full of whatever they use to color the ice and a device to spray it on the cliff.
“I thought it was cool,” she said.
Colorful icicles decorate the hillside along Buttermore Boulevard in Connellsville on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. The colors appear to be from small amounts of food coloring added to the ice formations. Photo by Dan Speicher @danspeicher • • #icicles #icicle #ice #frozen #cold #winter #snow #Connellsville #color #winterwonderland #iceicebaby #colores #coloring
A likely source for the coloring is food dye.
Gus Tishuk, 67, of Bangor, Pa., has been coloring the ice along Riverton Road in Upper Mount Bethel, Northampton County, for years.
He picked up the ice-dyeing practice from his wife Arlene’s family.
“Her relatives dyed the ice, and their relatives dyed it before them,” he said. “I do it because I keep the tradition going.”
He goes to a restaurant supply store and buys food coloring in quarts for $4 to $5 apiece, and told his wife Friday that it was time to go shopping because he was out of everything except yellow.
“If I had my food coloring, I’d be doing it today,” he said.
Sheila Lytle and her daughter Gianna of South Connellsville paint the icicles along Buttermore Boulevard in Connellsville on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. Using food coloring and a squirt tube, they say they paint the icicles to give beauty back to the land. Photo by Dan Speicher @danspeicher • • #winter #cold #ice #snow #Pennsylvania #color #coloredicicles #blue
When he’s out at the ice fall using a garden pump sprayer to color the ice, people honk their horns, give him a thumbs-up and stop to take pictures.
“I never met anyone who didn’t like it,” he said.
A winter enthusiast, Tishuk and several friends plan to spend Saturday creating and then playing a nine-hole golf course on a nearby 38-acre lake.
“We haven’t done this for a couple of years because the lake hasn’t frozen enough,” he said.
Tishuk said he hasn’t fielded any inquires from people in Western Pennsylvania about ice dyeing, so he doesn’t have a clue as to who colored the winter landscape near Connellsville.
“But I’m glad they did it,” he said.
Brian Bowling is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1218, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @TribBrian.