Winter Festival to feature ice castle

Local News

The Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival ice castle receiving its finishing touches for tonight in Mayville.  The castle build got off to a somewhat difficult start.

The weather posed a challenge for the Chautauqua County construction team.

The building crew for the 33rd Annual Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival did not let the warm weather bring down their efforts to construct the massive ice palace.

When we were there talking with the crew, community members were already stopping by to get a glimpse of the castle. 

Burl Swanson has been a part of the ice castle build team in Mayville, New York for the past six years.  He says he does it because of the joy the castle brings to the community.

“At any time of the night, there is somebody taking a picture or out here looking at the castle. You know that hometown pride and the people getting together? That’s amazing. “

The castle has been a staple mark at the festival for the past 33 years.

Mayor of Mayville, Ken Shearer, says, “They come every year, whether it’s 20 below or 50 degrees out.”

It is estimated that there are about 1400 blocks used to create the castle. 

This year’s weather has been a little rough for the castle building team due to the mild temperatures.

The team started with blocks of ice pulled from Chautauqua Lake.  According to the Community Chamber of Commerce President Sally Andriaccio, ice on the lake just a few weeks ago was 12-18″ thick.  But now, the ice is only about six inches thick. She says, “It’s been a challenge to get this up, the guys have done a great job with the Merola up and sticking with it.”

Despite the warm-up, the castle received its finishing touches for tonight when it will be illuminated with an array of colors. 

Shearer says, “To actually stand next to it, actually touch it with the lights on at night and fireworks over it; it’s a great thing.”

The lighting ceremony took place tonight at 6pm.  The two-day festival will officially kick off tomorrow.

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