Lake Warden Ken Bailey officially declared the ice out of Megunticook Lake on April 14, 2011, at 9:50 a.m. That was a month later than last year’s ice out date of March 19, 2010.

It was only 1903 that saw the ice out in Megunticook earlier than last year’s March 19.

The ice was called out on Chickawaukie Pond at 4:15 p.m. on April 11, 2011. March 10, 1998, holds the record as earliest ice out for Chickie since 1981.

Last year’s winners for the annual VillageSoup ice-out competition were all related. They were Heather Carlson, Tom Brannan, Joy Brannan and Mark Lunt.

This year, with a record number of participants entering the competition, it was Heather Carlson who again guessed the closest date and time to the official ice-out call for Chickie. She guessed April 12 at 2 p.m. Emery St. Clair won the senior division with his guess of April 12 at 2:30 p.m.

St. Clair, who worked at the prison for more than 30 years, said he would drive by the lake each spring and try to guess the ice out. This year he threw out a date and it was close to the mark.

Carlson said it is a fun family tradition to guess the ice out, and the Brannan family has participated for years. Both her grandmother and grandfather, as well as two cousins, have won the competition in past years.

The winners for Megunticook Lake this year were junior division Alie MacDonald of Rockport with a guess of 6 a.m., April 15, and senior division Joan Foshee with her guess of April 14 at 1 p.m.

Winners gathered their prizes and hopefully will enjoy a long summer before next year’s ice out.

Thanks to all that participated and good luck next year.

For history’s sake

The Camden Herald/Lake Megunticook Ice Out Contest was advertised March 13, 1980, asking residents to make their best guess on when Megunticook Lake would thaw.

Prizes were given to the closest three entries. First place took home a three-rib standing roast from the Megunticook Store, 10 gallons of gas from Shell Elm and a $5 gift certificate from Maine Sport.

Second place took home a Sharp Estimator calculator from Seaport Office Supply, dinner for two at the Eating Gallery and a wall decorator mirror from the Camden Store. Third place won a planter basket from the Village Jardiniere and a $5 gift certificate from Pat’s Pizza in Camden.

Residents guessed down to the date and the time that the ice out would occur.

Upon conferring with Michael Ritchie of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, it was determined that the ice on Megunticook went out in 1980 at 1:38 p.m. on April 8.

Winners of the 1980 Camden Herald Ice Out Contest were: 1. John Arey of Rockville; 2. Jeannette Robbins of Camden; 3. Todd Drinkwater of Camden.

Chickawaukie Pond ice out
1981: March 17
1982: April 18
1983:  March 22
1984:  April 9
1985:  March 28
1986:  April 1
1987:  April 9
1988:  March 27
1989:  April 7
1990:  April 3
1991:  March 26
1992:  April 5 (6 a.m.)
1993:  April 21 (12:20 p.m.)
1994:  April 11 Dec. 30
1995:  (open Jan. 18 to Jan. 27) March 30 (11:15 a.m.)
1996:  April 5 (10:54 a.m.)
1997:  April 13 (6:03 a.m.)
1998:  March 10 (11 a.m.)
1999:  March 4 (2:45 p.m.)
2000:  March 28 (10:17 a.m.)
2001:  April 22 (7:42 a.m.)
2002:  March 15 (12 p.m.)
2003:  April 15 (7:02 p.m.)
2004:  April 10
2005:  April 10 (noon)
2006:  March 18 (9:27 a.m.)
2007:  April 13 (4:30 p.m.)
2008:  April 10
2009:  April 8 (7:30 p.m.)
2010:  March 14 (6:20 a.m.)