Construction of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ice Palace will begin on January 22. Construction involves harvesting ice from Lake Flower, transporting it to the shore and assembling it according to a blueprint. Construction on the palace will continue until the start of the carnival on February 6.
The Ice Palace is built by volunteers, organized by a group informally known as the Ice Palace Workers 101 (IPW 101). The public is welcome to volunteer and roles are assigned based on comfort level, skill and ability. The construction of the Ice Palace is a community effort by those dedicated to keeping this tradition alive.
Modern equipment is used for the heavy lifting, but traditional manual methods are practiced as well, including antique hand saws and ice tongs. Another manual process which is critical to the construction is making slush, a mixture of water and snow. The slush forms the mortar which holds the Ice Palace together. Volunteers fill countless buckets with water, pound in snow, carry it to the palace walls and apply the slush with rubber gloved hands. The palace will be located adjacent to the Lake Flower State Boat Launch on River Street.
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is a 10-day, communitywide event that traces its roots to a one-day Winter Carnival held in 1897 by the Pontiac Club. For more information, visit the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival website at www.saranaclakewintercarnival.
Photo provided: clearing and marking the ice on Lake Flower.