Lack of ice and financial issues close Christmas in Ice

Empty ground where Christmas in Ice is usually built. (John Dougherty/KTVF)

NORTH POLE, Alaska (KTVF) The annual Christmas in Ice sculpture park won’t be opening this year in North Pole, Alaska. This would have been the thirteenth year the park was open. According to director Keith Fye, a lack of ice due to warm temperatures this year helped contribute to the closure. The park needs at least a foot of ice to build most of the park including the slides and kid activities.

“The ice of the pond where we normally harvest out of is barely six inches thick in some spots; in some spots it's only about three and a half inches thick. You can still put your foot through it pretty easy if you stomp on it," Fye said.

The ice thickness isn’t the only issue that lead to the park closing this year. It was also having financial trouble.

"Lack of finances, you know, sponsorships and everything else starting to fall off a little bit. Businesses are having a harder time, BP has left the area, just miscellaneous different things."

The lack of finances made it so they couldn’t bring a team of artists from China to build the park like they normally do.

Fye said that because of the park not being open it could hurt tourism in North Pole.

Residents of North Pole also are sad about the park being closed.

"I'm really disappointed because we make it a family event every year and make sure we go to it. And it just makes it seem more like Christmas and family time," said Ann Marie Rodriquez, a North Pole resident.”

Ella Fenderson of North Pole added, "I am disappointed that they aren't going to have the ice sculptures this year. I understand that there wasn't enough ice. It hasn't really been that cold yet, [but] it's getting there. I look forward to it next year."

Fye said that depending on how everything goes, they may be able to open it back up next year.

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