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WATCH: Heavy equipment demolishes ice palace in Detroit Lakes

The ice palace in Detroit Lakes was demolished by heavy equipment on March 1 following the conclusion of Polar Fest 2022, which ran from Feb. 11 to Feb. 27.

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Heavy equipment demolishes the ice palace in Detroit Lakes on March 1 following the conclusion of Polar Fest 2022.
(Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

It took about three weeks to construct.

Then, over the next two weeks, thousands of residents and visitors viewed, took selfies, and seemed to truly enjoy the gigantic frozen winterscape as a part of Detroit Lakes' Polar Fest 2022.

The demolition was over in a matter of minutes.

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Hans Gilsdorf, left, lead designer of the 2022 ice palace, watches and records video of heavy equipment demolishing the ice palace in Detroit Lakes on March 1 following the conclusion of Polar Fest 2022.
(Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

"It's always bittersweet when you see it come down," said Hans Gilsdorf, lead designer of the 2022 ice palace. "But, we are all ready for spring, and we're all welcoming spring and, to me it's a sign. Let's let spring come and today I think it is the first meteorological day of spring, so I think it's appropriate."

The ice palace was demolished on March 1 following the conclusion of Polar Fest 2022 on Feb. 27. The palace needed to be demolished due to safety concerns as temperatures begin their warming pattern into the spring months.

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Heavy equipment demolishes the ice palace in Detroit Lakes on March 1 following the conclusion of Polar Fest 2022.
(Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
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Heavy equipment demolishes the ice palace in Detroit Lakes on March 1 following the conclusion of Polar Fest 2022.
(Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

"To see the success it had in the community, and the people that came to see it, and the people we met, the people involved, what it means for Detroit Lakes is outstanding," said Gilsdorf. "It's really hard to describe what the effort of the team and the community did ... and supported for this project. For the city, the utilities, all the way down to every single individual, and all those who donated, whether it was physically on-site, or financially, or loaning equipment or materials, or bodies ... it's hard to put into words. You can't thank them enough."

According to organizers, about a million pounds of frozen ice was used in the construction of the palace.

Harrison Kippen, 3, witnessed the ice palace demolition on Tuesday and said he thought it was "cool."

Harrison also went through the frozen ice block maze in City Park and said, "we just went this way, and went that way and we got out. It's just easy."

Gilsdorf said he plans on taking some time away from the municipal spotlight in coming months and looks forward to getting back into his art studio. Over the past year, Gilsdorf played a large role in other major city projects, including: the new Detroit Lakes sailboat sculpture at North Shore Drive and Washington Avenue; the 150 Sails Up project for the Detroit Lakes sesquicentennial celebration; and a 40-foot wall mural on display in the common area of Detroit Lakes High School.

Lead Multimedia Reporter for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus.
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