MAYVILLE, N.Y. - In recent years, the weather has not been kind to volunteers building a giant ice castle in Mayville.
"Last year we just had a snow pile that we built into a slide. The year before that we had no winter at all, no ice to build with. The year before that we built a castle, but had to take it down due to safety concerns the Friday before the lighting. We had 60 degree weather and it melted out castle," said David Douglas, this year's head of construction.
There are no worries this year. Prolonged frigid temps means a frozen Chautauqua Lake and therefore plenty of building material: giant ice blocks harvested from the lake using chain saws and a primitive pulley system.
This year's ice castle is made up of 1200 blocks which weigh between 300 and 400 pounds each. Volunteers use a mix of snow and water to make an icy "mortar" to hold everything together. They put in 2,000 hours to build the castle.
The ice castle will serve as the centerpiece of the President's Day weekend Winter Festival at Lakeside Park.
The festivities kick off Friday night with the castle lighting ceremony. There will be music, food, and plenty of winter activities through the weekend.