Weather foils plan to return giant ice sculptures to Potsdam
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 5:40 pm

POTSDAM -- Weather has foiled a plan by Clarkson University to host a throwback carnival, “Go Snow Yourself,” with an ice sculpture competition harkening back to the 1970s and 1980s.

Dragons, giant dinosaurs, and even the Flinstones and Puff the Magic Dragon once arose from the snow and ice to tower over Potsdam, and Clarkson University hoped to bring them back this year.

The carnival itself will still run through Saturday, Feb. 2, but ice sculptures that were to have been featured will not appear due to lack of snow. Sculptures were originally to be erected on the grounds surrounding the Student Center and in front of the off-campus Greek houses.

Given the forecast for rain this evening and high temperatures tomorrow there just won’t be enough snow for the competition, according to Michael Griffin, director of news and digital content services at Clarkson. “Maybe next year,” he said.

For years giant ice sculptures could be spotted throughout the village, some lit for nighttime viewing. However, due to variable winter weather and lack of student interest, the tradition died out during past years.

The tradition began in 1931 as a cooperative effort between Clarkson University and SUNY Potsdam’s Greek students.

Clarkson students were hoping to eventually create ice sculptures that rivaled the ambition and creativity of the sculptures from the 1970s and 1980s, said Megan Burke, public relations committee chair for the Clarkson University Student Association.

“It used to be amazing. That’s what I’ve been told,” Burke said. “Everyone would come out and participate together.”

Clarkson’s fraternities and sororities were also looking forward to the event, according to student Zachary A. Farbanish of the Interfraternity Council.

“This is one event that brings all of Greek life together,” Farbanish said. “I know the potential to bring this back is there.”

Other carnival events will include a chance to meet Clarkson’s Golden Knight and decorate sugar cookies at an alumni reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, in the Brilbeck Pub in the Student Center. An Ice Ball will also be held to wrap up the Carnival Feb. 2.

Photographs from past carnivals are available in the Clarkson archives or from the Potsdam Public Museum. A slideshow is also available at northcountrynow.com/slideshow/ice-sculptures-past-clarksonsuny-potsdam-winter-carnivals.