NEWPORT — After months of waiting, spring finally made its appearance with a splash in Newport on Saturday.
The Lake Memphremagog “ICE OUT” contest, now in its 5th year, garnered a record 1,444 guesses this winter.
“The number of guesses more than doubled this year, largely thanks to our Recreation Committee who put a lot of volunteer time and energy into selling tickets,” Jessica Booth, Director of Parks & Recreation, said.
Predictions came in from across the country online as well.
Many of the online submissions came from around New England, but some came from as far as Colorado, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Georgia.
“Entering them was a little tedious, but it was interesting to see where the guesses were coming from and which dates and times were most popular,” Laura Smith, who had the pleasure of entering all 1,444 guesses into an electronic spreadsheet, said. “Five different people chose April 1 at 11:00 a.m. for example. April 20th at 4:20 was a popular guess too.”
Parks Foreman Mac McKenny happened to be at Gardner Park on Saturday fishing with his sons and nephew when “Vanilla Ice” broke through near the Causeway Bridge at 11:07 a.m.
“It was cool to actually see it go down,” McKenny said. “It started to tip and after a few minutes, the whole thing dropped. We got to see the clock stop, which was a first for sure.”
While everyone is excited that spring has finally arrived, the announcement is most exciting to first-time ICE OUT contestant Steve Lawson who submitted two predictions on Town Meeting Day in March.
His winning guess of 10:05 a.m. on 4/13/19 was just one hour and two minutes ahead of the actual time.
“My first prediction one was way too early,” he admitted and couldn’t attribute his strategy for the winning prediction to anything more than a lucky guess.
The Lake Memphremagog ICE OUT contest is an annual fundraiser for Newport Parks & Recreation.
This year the event brought in $3,166 toward the Gardner Park Playground and Splash Pad project.
Lawson took home $1,583 as his half of the 50/50 cash prize.Are you on Instagram? Cool. So are we. CLICK HERE to follow us for a behind the scenes look at Newport Dispatch.