Lake Memphremagog Ice Out contest ends early

NEWPORT, Vt. (WCAX) A big board has officially gone through the ice on Lake Memphremagog in northern Vermont, ending the sixth annual ice out contest.

2020 Ice Out Winner Crystal Cook

The Newport Parks and Recreation Department says the board broke through the ice on Friday at 8:53 p.m., which is more than three weeks earlier than last year. Newport Parks & Recreation's annual Ice Out contest has been a tradition since 2014.

The contest is a fundraiser for the splash pad project and playground upgrades at a city park. People buy raffle tickets and guess when the board will fall through. Half of the money goes to the winner, the other goes to the playground project. Newport saw a high of 61 degrees that Friday which inspired a surge of over 100 guesses to be submitted online that day alone.

“This year we received 1,269 guesses for the contest, which was brought in over $2,500 in ticket sales to benefit the playground project,” said Recreation Coordinator Laura Smith. “A lot of submissions were from Vermont and New England, but we also received some from farther away like Georgia and Minnesota. The dates spanned from as early as March 6, all the way out to May 20. We’re all glad we don’t have to wait that long for spring to arrive."

Crystal Cook is the winner of the contest and guessed March 20th at 8:27 p.m.

“I saw the ‘Ice Cubed’ mascot in the bay, and thought why not? You can’t win if you don’t try," said Cook, who visits the lake for ice fishing regularly.

She was only 16 minutes shy of the actual time which is the closest anyone has come to date. Cook is taking home $1300.