Chautauqua Lake Ice Pick Contest Begins

Chautauqua Lake Ice Pick Contest Begins

Area residents may find themselves hoping for a few more weeks of cold, come spring. The Chautauqua Lake Ice Pick contest, coordinated by Peter Sullivan, began when coordinators placed the ice pick on the lake outside of the Lawson Center in Bemus Point.

For $5, area residents can register a guess as to when the ice pick will fall through the cracked ice in the spring.

According to the contest’s webpage,, multiple guesses are encouraged.

Doug Conroe, president of the Chautauqua Lake Association, said the contest is an important event.

“The contest is an important fundraiser for the lake association … it helps with budget difficulties and is a fun piece.”

The contest began in 2011, raising $8,000 to benefit the Chautauqua Lake Association. In 2012, the contest was canceled due to unseasonably warm temperatures. In 2013, over $11,000 was collected.

The winner will receive 25 percent of the entire jackpot and the five closest contestants will each receive 5 percent of the jackpot. Half of all proceeds will go to the Chautauqua Lake Association to help keep the lake clean.

Sullivan created the event after traveling to Nenana, Alaska, and witnessing an annual event to predict when the ice would break. Originally, the tradition began during a time when the ice breaking signified that supplies would soon be on their way via ship.

To register a guess for the date of the ice breaking, visit and vote online by credit card or print out the form, including a check, and mail it to: CLA CLIP, 429 East Terrace Ave., Lakewood, NY 14750.

Published by The Post-Journal on January 24, 2014.

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