SARANAC LAKE —
Construction of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ice Palace will begin in earnest this week.
Cold temperatures — dropping to minus-25 degrees in Saranac Lake — are making for good ice-building materials. The ice on Pontiac Bay in Lake Flower is almost a foot thick.
Ice Palace coordinator Dean Baker expected they would begin to move heavy equipment down to the palace site today.
"Ice is looking really good," he said.
Saranac Lake's 114th-annual Winter Carnival theme is "Medieval Times," and palace architects have designed the structure very much like a castle.
"Well, it's going to include everything that a castle would have: battlements and towers and archer slits and, yes, a maze to walk through — usually that's time dependent," Baker said.
The all-volunteer palace construction crew has plowed snow off of a large swath of Pontiac Bay, allowing it to freeze deeper without insulation.
"We're going to give ourselves two full weekends and a couple of weeks to build," Baker said. "We'll be going full speed by this weekend."
People who want to help are welcome to lend a gloved hand, bearing in mind the wind and frigid temps predicted.
To take part, volunteers need only come on over.
"In the past, we've had minors show up unattended; we're looking for adult volunteers," Baker noted.
"Youth groups with adult chaperones, that's fine."
The 2011 Winter Carnival kicks off Feb. 4 with revelry, community and sporting events scheduled each day, ending Feb. 13.
The much-anticipated parade will be held Saturday, Feb. 12. Entries are being sought, with a deadline of Feb. 9.
A complete schedule of events with forms for competition, button purchases, vendors and parade entries is available online at: http://www.saranaclakewintercarnival.com
E-mail Kim Smith Dedam at: firstname.lastname@example.org