ITHACA, N.Y. – A surprise marriage proposal for one Pennsylvania couple helped warm up Ithaca’s 11th Annual Ice Festival this weekend.

Joe Candelmo, 27, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, proposed to his girlfriend Kim Lawler near the Christmas tree next to the recently installed fountain on the Commons.

The Allentown couple, who have been dating for just over two years, share a love for Ithaca and the surrounding area, which prompted Candelmo to plan the proposal during the annual festival.

“I frequently visit Ithaca and brought Kim to the area for the first time last year. She loved it. We both love everything about the region: the downtown festivals, the wineries, the beautiful waterfalls, the hiking, everything! Given our shared affection for this region, I believe this is the perfect spot to ask her to be my wife,” he said in a news release. 

As part of the proposal, sculptors from The Ice Farm have carved a block of ice into the shape of a ring and etched, “Will you marry me, Kim?” inside the sculpture.

Candelmo then popped the question with a real engagement ring. She said, “Yes.”

According to Gary Ferguson at the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, only one other staged public proposal has occurred on the Commons, making it an uncommon occurrence. The previous proposal involved a flash mob in front of Center Ithaca on May 1, 2011.

“Downtown Ithaca has a naturally beautiful landscape. The collection of historic buildings on the newly reconstructed Commons and the rolling hills circling the city creates an enchanting setting; a perfect and romantic spot for a memorable event, such as a marriage proposal,” Ferguson said.