Cold doesn't deter crowd at Lake Superior Ice Festival
The festival embraces all things cold, like ice carousels and sledding, but also hot air balloon rides and the coronation of pet royalty.
SUPERIOR — Whether it was pushing an ice carousel around in a circle, running up the sledding hill or standing under the burner of a hot air balloon, attendees of the Lake Superior Ice Festival on Barker's Island in Superior found a way to stay warm despite Saturday's frigid temperatures.
"It's actually perfect," ice carver Paul Salmon said of the single-digit temperatures.
Salmon, of Appleton, Wisconsin-based Krystal Kleer Ice Sculptures, was using a grinder to put the finishing touches on what he called a "fire and ice tower." The sculpture, made to look like a brick, was filled with wood pallets, which were going to be lit on fire Saturday afternoon.
The outside temperature was ideal for preserving the ice carving and cold enough to prevent the sun's rays from melting the sculptures.
The temperatures didn't appear to affect turnout, said Eric Thomas of Barker's Island Marina.
For the second year in a row, Thomas and others from the marina created an ice carousel on the ice near Barkers Island Beach.
Last year, he estimated more than 2,000 people hopped on the spinning circle of ice (until a crack formed down the middle and it was evacuated) and this year appeared to be on pace with that.
This year, the crew used chainsaws to carve out a circular chunk of ice 66 feet in diameter, which moved in a clockwise direction as people on the carousel pushed against a wooden beam mounted to the stationary ice. They were sometimes told to slow down so people could still hop on and off the floating ice ride.
"It's such a weird thing," Thomas said of the ice carousel.
But maybe not as odd as the coronation ceremony for Superior's pet monarchy across the street at the Fairlawn Mansion.
The Douglas County Humane Society crowned the year's canine king and queen: Buford, 8, an English mastiff, and Lily, 2, a German shepherd and Siberian husky mix.
It was too cold for the feline king and queen — Bernard and Nugget — to attend.
This year also added a lord and lady honor, allowing all other pet species to compete. It was won by JD, a horse, and Penelope, a pig. They beat a tarantula, ferret and other creatures for the title.
The winners were determined by online voting, with each vote costing a $1 donation.
The event raised about $7,200 for the humane society, according to Cheri Fitch, fundraising and events coordinator for the humane society.