Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The 2016 Saranac Lake Ice Palace!

The winter of 2016 had so far been extraordinarily mild and I knew that the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival would be in trouble. But I heard on the news that they'd managed to build the annual ice palace anyway, so I drove down to take a look. I parked near Lake Flower and was pleased to see that it was covered with ice:

The ground, however, was free of snow. I walked to where they'd planned to have the yearly Arctic Miniature Golf. Each station had a colored mound of snow, remnants of the miniature golf course someone had worked so hard on, but that was all - except for this snowy Minion from "Despicable Me:"

But the stations, or holes, for the intended Arctic miniature golf were just rapidly melting piles of snow:

This one looked especially sad and apparently had once been an elaborately decorated basket of fruit:

This hole had begun as a slide with a green dragon, but all that remained was this:

So I walked over to see the ice palace. I could tell, even from a distance, that it was smaller than usual, yet I was impressed that they'd managed to build this much. Small groups of toddlers were touring the ice palace, following behind their teachers, each child holding onto a rope:

I wouldn't have known it otherwise, but I heard the children saying that this was the Batman's famous Bat-Car. It was a popular spot for children and parents, taking pictures:

I went to the front entrance, where this year's theme was boldly displayed in writing made of snow. It was Superheroes and Villains - hence the Bat-Car:

There were ice thrones inside the palace but they had melted rather badly. I saw only one other ice sculpture (bottom left of this photo), presumably a superhero, although I couldn't identify it:

Yet even this modest ice palace was a wonder to behold, and the groups of children and their excitement helped me enjoy it also:

I walked around behind the ice palace, where piles of unused ice blocks remained. The blocks looked to be about 2 X 4 feet, but only 9-12" thick this year. Normally they would be 2 feet thick:

The ice palace looked impressive, but surprisingly small from behind. I'd known that it was a tough winter for ice and snow before I'd left home and I was happy to see that the ice palace had made an appearance in spite of all the weather related obstacles. This is an event which I plan to attend every year:

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