SARANAC LAKE — A warm breeze chased off the frigid cold mid-week.
While many found relief in 50-degree temperatures, Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ice Palace workers here took precautions and wrapped parts of the nearly finished frozen parapets in tarps to protect it from melting.
The 116th Winter Carnival will call all things from “Under the Sea” to the village over the next 10 days, with events starting tonight.
The annual see-saw freeze-thaw is not unusual, even in the frosty pocket of Saranac Lake. And progress on the Ice Palace is still on target for the lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. Saturday.
So far, builders have taken nearly 1,500 blocks of ice from Pontiac Bay in Lake Flower, beside the palace construction site.
Work by the International Palace Workers was curtailed Wednesday due to the thaw. Tarps were used to prevent towers and walls from melting in the mid-winter sun.
“It’s holding up so far,” Ice Palace Committee Chairman Dean Baker said. “We covered a large portion of it.”
Baker said they have had an excellent crowd of volunteers working the heavy machinery, pushing ancient ice saws and building the ice-block walls with cement made from slush.
“We had a really good weekend. Prisoners from Moriah Shock were here to help, plus the volunteers.”
Ice finesse is still in the making, with seascape ice sculptures set to adorn the inner palace halls to highlight the carnival’s theme.
They are being created by local artist Robin Johnson, who ordinarily sculpts in stone or wood, Baker said.
The iconic “crown jewel” of Winter Carnival is the subject of a new work of history released in conjunction with this year’s celebration.
A 54-page book, written and compiled by local author Caperton Tissot, is titled: “Saranac Lake’s Ice Palace: a History of Winter Carnival’s Crown Jewel.”