Features at Alaska ice park might just spark a fire
FAIRBANKS, Alaska » Workers are building an ice playground in a city in Alaska’s interior, including a pirate ship slide made from 65 refrigerator-size blocks of ice.
The work began Monday at the George Horner Ice Park in Fairbanks ahead of the annual world ice sculpture championships, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
A giant ice lens also is planned for the park, said ice championships chairman Dick Brickley. It will be 12 feet in diameter and powerful enough to focus the sun’s rays and start a fire, he said.
The ice is so clear, the rays go right through it, and one small telescope in the past started a fire on a piece of plywood without melting, Brickley said.
Another new attraction this year is an experimental sculpture that will be carved and then displayed underwater.
"It’s kind of a neat new concept," Brickley said.
The attractions must be completed by the time the park opens Feb. 23. That’s when teams of artists participating in the 2015 BP World Ice Art championships begin making sculptures.
The artists are from 16 countries.
The ice being harvested this year is crystal-clear aqua blue, Brickley said. This winter has been warmer, and there’s been less snow than usual, which is actually good for ice formation, he said. Snow can shield ice from cold air.
No repeat of last year’s tourism frenzy at ice caves
BAYFIELD, Wis. » Businesses that cater to tourists flocking to the Apostle Island ice caves say this season so far has been different from last year.
The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore says there’s little hope for an early ice cave season because of ice conditions. Last winter at this time, 3,000 people viewed the ice caves in one weekend.
The owner of the Village Inn in Cornucopia, Cheryl O’Bryon, tells WDIO-TV that this year "it’s a totally different world." She says it’s "very, very quiet."
The locals say last year’s business was unprecedented because of the amount of media attention given to the spectacle of the caves. Before the unusually long and cold winter of 2013-14, the ice caves hadn’t been accessible for four years. In the years prior to that, the caves had usually been open for at least a couple of weeks in February.
Saratoga Springs prepares for its city centennial
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. » Officials in Saratoga Springs have unveiled a lineup of events commemorating the centennial anniversary of its incorporation as a city.
Saratoga was still officially a village entering the 20th century, but the popularity of its summer thoroughbred racing season and its mineral springs had spurred growth that led business owners and other civic leaders to push for combining the village and outlying rural areas into an incorporated city.
A new charter for the city’s form of government was drawn up in early 1915 and approved by voters. In April of that year, Saratoga Springs officially became a city.
A series of events celebrating the centennial are planned, including an exhibit at the Saratoga Springs History Museum featuring 200 years of maps from the city’s past and rededication of the city’s iconic Spirit of Life statue in Congress Park.