PICS: Volunteers Brave the Cold to Create Spectacular Saranac Lake Ice Palace
If you build it they will come. The creation of the annual Ice Palace is underway in Upstate New York.
Volunteers get together every January to put together the centerpiece of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. Business owners, teachers, constructions workers, elected officials, parents, and friends, known as the International Palace Workers (IPW 1010), work in the frigid temperatures every year to create the annual Ice Palace.
It all starts with a meeting of the minds and a cocktail napkin. Some of the long-standing members of the IPW101 gather at The Belvedere Restaurant, where the initial plans for that year's palace are drawn up, often on nothing more than a cocktail napkin.
Crews work to turn the napkin idea into reality. From cutting ice blocks, carrying buckets of icy cold water and snow to packing the slush between blocks, during the bitter January cold.
Saranac Lake is one of those places where we embrace the cold. But you’ve never met a warmer community.
Take a look at the progress being made for this year's Ice Palace that you can see during the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival from February 3-14.
Volunteers Build Famous Saranac Lake Ice Palace
The 2021 Winter Carnival was scaled back due to the Rona. Gone were the daily events. Only the ice palace, and opening and closing fireworks were held last year.
The fun is back for 2022 as the 10-day Winter Carnival goes back in time with this year's theme - Totally 80s. Enjoy sports, performances, two parades, three sets of spectacular fireworks, and an icicle contest. The weekend kicks off with the Ice Place Fun Run. There's also a chocolate festival, curling competition, and a fry pan toss, a Winter Carnival highlight.
The Winter Carnival has taken place in Saranac Lake since 1897. It wasn't always an annual event though. There were years in the 20s, 30s, and early 40s when it wasn't held. The carnival was resurrected in the winter of 1947-48 and has been held every year since. The Ice Palace disappeared for 35 years before making a comeback too. It stopped being built in 1920 but returned by 1955.