Eagle River ice castle construction begins; volunteers pull thousands of ice blocks from Silver LakeSubmitted: 01/04/2018
Story By Katie Thoresen

Eagle River ice castle construction begins; volunteers pull thousands of ice blocks from Silver Lake
EAGLE RIVER - Take 3,000 blocks of ice, more than 100 volunteers, and a community built on ice and snow, and you've got just about everything you need to a build an ice castle. 

"This is volunteerism at its best," said Eagle River Fire Chief Michael Anderson. 

The Eagle River Fire Department takes charge of building the ice castle each year. 

It takes about five days to score the lake, harvest the ice, sand the blocks, and build the castle.

Thursday, volunteers spent the day cutting and removing the ice blocks.

"Today is my favorite day. Pulling the ice out of the lake is my favorite day," said Anderson. "It's intense. You have to get all the ice out in one day. All the guys working together on the ice, doing this with the deadline that we have to meet."

Despite the cold, nearly all 45 members of the volunteer fire department help in the process, but they're not the only ones.

"Getting all the community involved, not only the fire department, but people who just want to come and help out. It's awesome. It's great," said volunteer firefighter Andrew Nelson.

More than 60 other members of the community come out to help any way they can. 

"[They] support the community by bringing them soup, cookies, and all that kind of great stuff," said Eagle River Chamber of Commerce Events Coordinator Natalie Spiess. "It is such a great feeling being here and seeing things like this happen. It just fills my heart. It just makes me so happy to be here and to be a part of it."

"When it's subzero weather and all these people come out from the community to assist the volunteer fire department. It really means a lot. It shows the love that we have for our community," said Eagle River Chamber of Commerce Director Kim Emerson. 

All of these people coming together to build an ice castle and a community they can be proud of. 

"The ice castle is so good for Eagle River. We get all the tourism that comes in and it's a great sense of accomplishment," said Anderson.

The castle should be finished this Saturday or Sunday. 

It will be built next to the Eagle River Depot Museum. 

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