Rites of spring: 60-degree days, Ice Out Contest
The return of brown lawns, robins, bluebirds, 60-degree temperatures and the Echo Press Ice Out Contest.
When will the ice melt off Lake L'Homme Dieu?
Readers are invited to send their best guess to the newspaper.
There's more than bragging rights at stake. The winner of the free contest will receive a $50 gift certificate from Pete's County Market in Alexandria.
An entry form is printed on page -- in today's issue and will also be available in this weekend's Lakeland Shopping Guide.
Only one entry per person is allowed.
All entries must be received at the newspaper office by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 23.
Official ice-spotters from the Echo Press will determine when the ice has left the lake. If two or more people guess the correct date, a drawing will be held to determine the winner.
The Echo Press has been keeping track of the ice-out times dating back to 1867. Lake Osakis was originally the official lake but the site was changed to Lake L'Homme Dieu in 1965.
The earliest ice-out happened in 2000, when the lake was clear of ice on March 25.
The ice's most stubborn year was 1878 when it finally retreated on May 15.
Last year's ice out was April 22 - 20 days later than the previous year.
In the 141 years the newspaper has recorded ice-outs, the ice has stayed on the lake later than May 2 only 13 times.
A total of 236 people entered the contest last year. Thirteen entrants nailed the date exactly and a random drawing was held to determine the winner - Lori Hyatt of Alexandria.