It's a no-go for one of the Northwoods prime winter attractions: the Eagle River Ice Castle. When the weather cooperates to make deep ice, Eagle River firefighters and volunteers help build the castle near the downtown.
As Fire Chief Michael Anderson explains, this year's weather pattern didn't permit the removal of ice blocks from Silver Lake....
"...Do to the ice conditions and the way the weather has been we had to cancel it. We waited as long as we could. We cleared all the snow off the ice in order to grow good ice, but in the end, Mother Nature did not allow it this year...."
The castle was not constructed last year. Anderson says a similar weather pattern as 2019 developed...
"...We had a similar situation when we get that early snow and then rain on top of it and it creates slush and it makes it really hard to deal with to drive onto the lake and to get the snow off to harvest the blocks..."
In the past five years, the castle was built in 2017 and 2018. Weather cooperating, Eagle River volunteer firefighters and community volunteers put in more than 700 hours of work to build the castle by cutting nearly 3,000, 12-inch-thick ice blocks and stacking them in a design.
From the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce website, the first ice castle began as an addition to the annual “King Winter” festival in 1933. The project was led by Ed Bandow and William Radue who would cut the ice from Silver Lake. The first castle was built on the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad property across from current day Moccasin Shop & Gifts.