Many hands make the Ice Palace

As you are aware, this year’s Ice Palace construction was made significantly more difficult due to the weather.

After getting off to a great start for the first five days, we had to tear a lot of it down, and then we only had two days to get it rebuilt and finished. Due to the help of many first-time volunteers, we got it done in time for the lighting. If we had more time, it would have been bigger and would have had some things we couldn’t put in due to the time constraints. Hopefully they can be incorporated in future palaces.

This year, we had 104 volunteer names on the sign-in sheet, which is many more than we usually get. What a great town we have to get that many folks volunteering. I hope many of them keep coming back to help each year.

I can’t thank everyone individually, but I would like to thank those individuals and businesses that gave us time, equipment or money for this year’s palace. If I have forgotten anyone, I apologize in advance. I want to start by thanking the Belvedere restaurant for providing a meeting place and a meal for the design committee. We have been designing the palace there for many years now. The ideas are usually good, but the meals are always great. Thanks to Hyde Fuel for the fuel and fuel storage tank; having the fuel on site is a tremendous help and time saver. Thanks to Sturdy Supply for the skid steer, the heater, the chainsaw and fuel. Thanks to Paul Smith’s College for the use of the log loader and an operator. This machine can place blocks of ice quickly right where we need them. Thanks to Douglas C. Cochran for the excavator that takes the ice out of the lake, and for operating it daily. Without this machine, getting ice out is a problem I don’t want to have. Thanks to Mike Knapp and Will Martin, Jeff Dickson and Jeff Branch for initially clearing the ice field, then keeping the ice clean before we began cutting; if the ice is not kept clean, we can’t get the ice thickness we need. Thanks to the following people for providing tractors to transport the ice once it was removed from the lake: Lee Foster, Mike Knapp and John Pietras. The skid steer was also used for this purpose. Thanks also to the superintendent of Moriah Shock camp for the work crews and officers sent over to help us. The crews really worked hard, and we appreciate it. Thanks to Garrett Foster for using the ice saw to cut all the ice blocks. Each year we cut around 2,000 blocks.

Many thanks to the Lakeview Deli for the lunches they provided for the workers each day. The meals were great, and we really appreciate the warm space next-door to eat lunch, as well as the effort they put into feeding us. The deli also provided some of our slush buckets, as did Ace Hardware – with the pink buckets this year.

Thanks to the Women’s Civic Chamber for providing us with coffee, hot chocolate and the delicious baked goods, as they always do. When it’s cold and the wind is blowing, hot drinks are wonderful. Thanks also to Nonna Fina for the donation of meals as well as their monetary donation; thanks for the donation from the Shamrock restaurant, and the Dunkin’ Donuts which provided us with treats.

I also want to thank the village Department of Public Works for packing down the site prior to construction and bringing us clean snow. Thanks, too, to the Rabideau Corp. volunteers who wrapped the palace in tarps prior to the bad weather, which really helped. We also used tarps donated by Curtis Lumber and Marty Rowley, much appreciated.

Again, thank you, everyone who helped on the day shift and night shift, slushers, carvers, tractor drivers and all. I hope to see you again, with better weather, next year.

Dean W. Baker lives in Saranac Lake and is the Ice Palace chairman for the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival.