Folks in Kent Connecticut have a tradition at this time of year that climate change may well do in. For the last couple of years, in fact, the Housatonic River has been largely ice free, which has made it touch to hold the volunteer fire department's annual Ice Watch contest. A tradition in Kent since 1978, tickets are sold at $2 a piece starting on Valentine's Day for contestants who try to guess the day, hour and minute when the ice cover will melt and go out downstream. A ticking clock on a tripod is planted on the ice and once it moves 100 ft. downstream the clock stops and the winner gets to take home the total amount in the pot.
According to the Kent Volunteer Fire Department:
"Even in a year when the ice doesn’t form or last until Feb. 14, the contest is transformed into a drawing and a winning guess is pulled out of the pile. In all the years since 1978, there’ve only been five such drawings. Past winners have split as much as $3,650 with the fire department. In 2003, the ice finally went out at 1:07 p.m. on March 18 and the total pot was $2,604."
I didn't lay my $2 down this year, but I'm betting the ice goes before March.
Update (4/9/2007) And a good thing, too, as the tripod drifted downstream on March 16th this year.