SPICER, Minn. – Crews are busy making thousands of big ice blocks at a lake in central Minnesota that will be used to build the ice palace at a winter carnival later this month.
Workers need about 3,700 blocks to build the 70-foot-tall palace for the St. Paul Winter Carnival, which begins Jan. 25, Minnesota Public Radio reported . Each block weighs nearly 600 pounds.
Green Lake, located near Spicer, is known for creating thick, clear ice, said Mike Gutknecht of Park Construction of Minneapolis, which is the general contractor for the project.
"When we go back to St. Paul and shine the lights through it, you can get all the visual effects," Gutknecht said. "You'll get milky ice and that type of ice, but out here it is crystal clear and it's got a blue tinge to it. It's really beautiful."
To create the ice blocks, workers dust off ice on the lake with a sweeping machine, use a specialized saw to score the ice, cut three sides of the ice away and then use a chisel tool to free the blocks. The blocks are then pushed through a channel and lifted onto land by a conveyor belt.
It will take five to seven days to transport all of the blocks to St. Paul, Gutknecht said.
Ice from Green Lake was last used for the St. Paul palace in 1992.
"We make good ice. That's why St. Paul wanted it," said Denny Baker, Spicer's mayor.
This year's ice palace will likely draw extra attention since Minneapolis is hosting the Super Bowl in February, Baker said.
"Most people you know have never seen a block of ice," Baker said. "And then to see what you can build with it and how you can build a structure — that will be amazing. It will be fun for them."
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org