December warm stretch foils winter attractions in Minnesota

On Wednesday, organizers canceled the 2024 Minnesota Ice Festival at Vikings Lakes in Eagan. Anyone who has purchased a ticket can expect a full refund in one to two weeks.

Meanwhile, more event organizers are announcing their plans for January as a warm December stretch continues.

In Maple Grove, the construction of ice castles is running behind schedule. Workers have mapped out and laid down water lines, lights, and speakers, but artisans are unable to freeze water and begin building the castle. They still plan to open up by Jan. 13.

"Truth be told, we’re not worried, the reason being: you can’t really stress about something that’s totally out of your control," Minnesota Ice Castles event manager Brady Murphy said. "We can’t control the weather. All you can do is plan."

Organizers of the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships aren’t worried either. "One year, we had waves out there around Christmas time," event manager Jesse Delorit said.

In about one week, they’ll begin taking ice readings in Minneapolis. The thickness of the ice could decide how many people and how much equipment is allowed on Lake Nokomis when the puck drops over the last two weekends of January. 

"We have time, we have close to a month left," Delorit finished. "It all comes down to Mother Nature."