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The big news on the news in these parts is the fact that the Ice Out contest has ended. Oh, the games people in Vermont will play. After all it is mud season and nothing much happens here in Vermont during mud season. According to their website,, every year since 1987 they play a game to guess the exact date and time that the ice will be gone in the pond. While this game was informally played by many for years, it became an actual real game for the first time in 1988 when tickets were sold for $1 a piece.

Being on the edge of techno wizardry here in Vermont, it was a high tech game also. The equipment used was so sophisticated that they are still using it today. A (now) 40 year old alarm clock is tethered to a cinderblock. The alarm clock is placed on Homer’s deck (seriously folks this is Vermont, remember?) and the cinderblock is placed on the pond. When the cinderblock falls through the ice, it pulls the stop on the clock, effectively memorializing the exact time when the ice fell. This has turned into a serious game and the tickets, which still cost only a buck a piece are sold at the rate of 12,000 last year. Last year’s winner got close to $5,000 (not a bad return on your investment)

The net proceeds benefit Joe’s Pond Association. This year, was the earliest year in the long time for the ice to be out. It officially went out on 2:46 p.m. on Monday, April 5th. The winner has yet to be determined. Oh, the suspense of it all!


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