Whitefield Lions do expect an 'ice-out' winner
WHITEFIELD — It's not exactly Lake Winnipesaukee, but thanks to the efforts of the Whitefield Lions Club, Forest Lake — just like the Big Lake downstate — has its own "ice-out competition," which is now in its third year.
A while back, the Whitefield Lions were bemoaning the fact that while there are many opportunities to raise funds in the spring and summer, those opportunities are much scarcer in the winter, said member Don Discenzo on Monday.
Casting their eyes westward, the Lions learned about an annual ice-out event at Joe's Pond in Vermont and in homage to it came up with a similar contest on Forest Lake, which lies in the towns of Dalton and Whitefield.
As in Vermont, the Lions place a concrete weight on the ice that is tethered by a rope to an onshore electric clock. When the weight goes through the ice, the rope tightens and pulls the power cord out of the electrical outlet, thus stopping the clock and providing the exact time when "ice out" occurred.
By comparison, "ice out" on Lake Winnipesaukee is declared by an airplane spotter who determines that the 230-foot long M/S Mount Washington cruise ship, with no fear of ice, can safely travel between its ports in Weirs Beach, Meredith, Center Harbor, Wolfeboro and Alton Bay.
Last year on Lake Winnipesaukee, ice out came on April 17 at 6:53 a.m. while on Lake Forest it happened on April 12 at 1:33 p.m. with the person closest to that time receiving a $500 cash prize.
Tickets for the 2014 Lake Forest ice out contest are available through April 1 by making a $1 donation to the Whitefield Lions Club —$5 gets you six tickets — and can be obtained through any club member or by visiting Discenzo at Whitefield Hardware. All tickets must include date and time to be eligible for the 50/50 raffle.
"The first year, ice out was on March 25 and we had a very open year and it wasn't very cold, and last year was a more normal winter and it went out on April 12, and this year is an exceptional winter and unless we have a good week or two of warm breezes blowing, I anticipate it to go out a lot later," said Discenzo.