Friday, December 07, 2007

North Pole Candle Lighting Ceremony

Sunday, December 2nd marks the 36th anniversary of the North Pole Chamber of Commerce Candle Lighting Ceremony. The ceremony started with invocation by stand in, Dick Olson, from KJNP. What followed was over two hours of local talent reciting Christmas prose, singing Christmas Carols, and playing "Go Tell it on the Mountain" with a bell choir. It was really inspiring to be in an auditorium full of people who understand what Christmas is all about.

The Christmas Tree was lit at the site of the Ice Sculpture competition near Santa Claus House, right next to the Nativity Scene sculpted that day by Dick Brickley and other ice carvers. Dick is the spearhead behind the North American Ice Carving Championships held in North Pole this year. December 7, 8 & 9 spectators can watch the competition and on Sunday the carvings will be judged.
To see the sculptures via webcam, use this link:

Ice sculptering competition in Fairbanks began in the mid 1934 when Kay Hufman and Clara Murray West got community support to start the Winter Carnival held each March along the Chena River. It included a sled dog derby and an ice carnival, including a ice sculptured throne for the Winter Carnival King and Queen.

At the 1934 Winter Carnival, local artist Ted lambert sculptured a realistic looking 12 by 12 foot log cabin of ice complete with a food cache near by.

The most recent revival of ice sculpturing came in 1989 with the formation of Ice Alaska, Inc.

Through the years the sculptures got more intricate and in recent years the competition in international, with Alaskans becoming involved in competition all over the world.

At the left is a close up shot of the nativity scene in North Pole.

In recent years, Bernie and Connie Karl have gained world wide notoriety for their Ice Hotel.

I was very pleased to be asked to speak at the ceremony. It gave me a chance to let people know who I am and why I decided to serve in public office. It has meant sacrifices on the part of my family by having me spend more of the year away from them than with them and sacrifices by limiting my ability to make a living. My family has been through a terrible tragedy with the death of my four-year-old grandson, Joseph, that also tested my willingness to remain in the public sector. In the end, though, it is my children and grandchildren that make me stay in public office trying to promote public policy that allows them the same opportunities I have had by challenging more government and more government spending that places a huge debt on my grandchildren (and yours) before they have even grown up and started making a living. I also challenge a government that challenges our right to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Christ.