By Carla Charter-(Read Carla’s books on Amazon)
Watch the Video of the Ice Carousel below…
An Ice Carousel built on Long Lake in Sinclair, Maine has broken a world record for the largest Ice Carousel. The previous record was held by Lohja, Finland. The original idea for the Maine Carousel began two years ago, when Ken Martin and Roger Morneault were working under a crawl space in a building and started discussing an ice carousel they had seen on Youtube.
An ice carousel is a large circle cut out of ice. In order to free the carousel from the rest of the lake auger holes are drilled and a trench is created. The disc is then spun by adding outboard motors to the disc.
According to Mike Cyr, one of the organizers of the event, this year’s first attempt was on March 16, 17, and 18th by about 50 people. The temperatures at this time, with the wind chill factor, were -25 degrees below zero, thus the trench created quickly refroze and the effort was abandoned. “Mother Nature won that round,” Cyr said.
The carousel was reattempted on April 6th ,7th, and 8th. An engineer, Steve Raymond of Sargent Corporation from Bangor Maine who was originally from Fort Kent Maine, was coming home for Easter weekend. “He had heard what we were doing and donated the use of the company’s ledge trencher to reopen the ice circle. This was critical to getting it done. Once the trench was reopened we smoothed out the edges,” Cyr said.
Along with breaking a world record, it was also the first ever laid out using RTK (Real Time Kinematic) Global Positioning. It was designed and laid out by Spencer Karon of Northern Maine Surveyors, free of charge. “We were not measuring with a tape instead taking a read out by satellite and creating exact precise points all the way around to perfection,” Cyr continued.
On April 6, the group gathered again to cut the last 200 feet of ice, which held the disc in place and they completed additional trimming around the edges. Holes were drilled at 0 degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees and 270 degrees. We had four outboard motors mounted on wood framework on the top of the ice. After about 40 minutes it was turning all by itself.
The disc was 30 inches thick and a diameter of 427 feet, beating Lohja, Finland’s record of of 400 feet. The carousel is estimated to weigh 11,000 tons. The record instead was certified by the World Ice Carousel Association as Guinness won’t sanction the record as it could be dangerous around the edges.
As part of the ice carousel event there was a free hot dog roast held on the carousel which people were allowed to go on. There was a bridge built to the carousel by a group of students. The bridge had a ski attached so it would slide and rotate with the wheel. A raffle of 72 different items was also held in conjunction with the event.“ This whole effort was something that began with nothing. It was a group of individuals who decided they were going to do this and people came out. It is only because of the teamwork and spirit up here that this came together.”
The $7,015 raised through this event will help support the Meals on Wheels program at the Aroostock Area Agency on Aging Presque Isle, Maine. “My Mom has passed away, but she really used to enjoy Meals on Wheels coming to her house. They not only served the function of delivering hot meals but the delivery person could also check to be sure the senior was OK. This is dedicated to all the seniors. We love them, we respect them we hope to continue with the program,” said Cyr.
Next year organizers are planning another carousel on a grander scale and hope to break their current world record. It is also hoped the event can increase tourism to the area. “In extreme Northern Maine we have at least one month longer of winter. The tourism goes down during that month. People don’t believe we still have snow. It brings people together and it’s a way to raise funds for a good cause. We are hoping it will help bring tourism up here during the last month of winter. He continued that Lohja, Finland also held the first ever ice Carousel Festival brought over 20,000 visitors.” Cyr said.