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Eagle River Ice Castle construction underway

Ice Castle 3.jpg
Katie Thoresen
/
WXPR
Ice blocks harvested from Silver Lake in Eagle River.

The Eagle River Fire Department and dozens of volunteers braved the frigid temperatures and bitter wind this weekend to start construction on the Ice Castle.

Two weeks ago, no one was sure if there would be a castle this year. It’s the first time since 2018 conditions have allowed for a castle.

ice castle 2.jpg
Katie Thoresen
/
WXPR
Volunteers guide ice blocks onto a conveyer belt to load them into a waiting pickup truck.

The ice was holding at 10 inches thick, and they need at least 12 inches to harvest.

Volunteers plowed snow off a section of the lake and last week the ice grew the three inches need to make the ice castle possible.

Mick Draeger is a captain with the Eagle River Volunteer Fire Department.

“100% honest as soon as the chief said we got 13 inches of ice, we all go, ‘Oh man.’ Because it’s a week of our life where we have to volunteer. It’s a lot of work. But I’ll tell you what, when it is done, we enjoy it more than everybody. It is really a work of art,” said Draeger.

Saturday was spent harvesting more than 2,000 block of ice out of Silver Lake, loading them into pickup trucks, and driving them over to the railroad depot where the castle is being built.

Sunday, volunteers spent the day shaving the ice to uniform size and building the central tower of the castle.

“It’s a really cool tradition and to come out and see the process. This isn’t just freezing a block of ice and piling it up in town. This is months of work and dedication and volunteering and a community effort,” said Draeger.

The plan is for construction to continue Monday and Tuesday.

If you’re interested in volunteering, check in at the depot.

Ice Castle 4.jpg
Katie Thoresen
/
WXPR
Volunteers stack pallet of ice on Saturday. Sunday they started shaving the blocks to uniform size and building the castle.

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