Excelsior ice castle construction pushes ahead through December warm-up

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For the first time this year, the popular ice castles are coming to Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior.

The castles are taking shape, but some people are wondering when they will be able to check it out and how the weather is going to cooperate.

As the sun set over Lake Minnetonka Sunday, workers were busy building the massive ice castle above the frozen ground in Excelsior after moving from Stillwater last year.

“I think it’s great for Excelsior,” said Karen Kraimer, a neighbor.

“We’re excited to have it here,” added David Kidd, another neighbor. “A little worried about the congestion, traffic and all the people that will come, but it should be fun.”

According to Caleb Belleveau, the manager of the ice castles, crews are building at a steady rate to get the structure ready for the public.

Belleveau says ice castles usually open on the first week of January.

“We never set a firm time, but we want to make the most of the season and be early as soon as we can, but we can’t control the weather,” he said.

According to FOX 9 Weather Team’s Alex Lehnert, Minnesota is “right where we should be for this time of year,” with temps in the mid to upper 20s. “The good news, temps are going to be below freezing as we progress through the week so that should help them there.”

When the ice castle opens, their website says it will kick off Winter Star Watch Parties with fire performers and costumed characters come to life from the Disney movie “Frozen.”

The question remains, will Mother Nature “Let It Go” and let the temperatures drop in Excelsior for the ice castle to take full shape on time.”  

“We work hard every day to get it open as soon as we can,” said Belleveau. “I think it will be fine. It’s Minnesota.”