The Rotary Clubs of Soldotna and Kenai are performing a test in preparation to launch a new local fundraiser next year. Inspired by the Nenana Ice Classic, the Kenai River Ice Classic would put on a contest to guess when the ice would move in the river.
Soldotna Rotary Club President Linzey White said Tuesday that the clubs were looking to add another local fundraiser to their annual rotations, and that the proceeds would be used for local projects, especially to improve the area around the river.
According to a release by the two clubs, they “received legislative approval for such a contest” more than 10 years ago. In subsequent years, the Kenai River didn’t freeze, and the contest never moved forward.
The release says that’s the big difference between the Tanana River, where the Nenana Ice Classic is held, and the Kenai River. The Kenai doesn’t always freeze.
Monday, the clubs put a tripod out on the Kenai River with a small GPS device attached to it. The tripod can be seen from the bridge in Soldotna. The GPS device, described by White as a “more electronic” take on the game, is intended to let the clubs know if the tripod moves as the ice melts.
The test will be successful if the GPS device is able to tell the clubs when the device moves, and if the test is completed without interference from external factors like wildlife.
“If this works, then there’s more permits that we have to file to get permission to sell tickets and actually make it a real fundraiser that we could build up from there,” she said.
If everything goes according to plan, the Kenai River Ice Classic will debut next winter, alongside another Rotary Club fundraiser.
Last year, the clubs got legislative approval for another contest, the Kenai River Freeze-Up Classic, which the release says is set to debut at this year’s Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival in August. Tickets will be sold with purchasers betting on whether or not the Kenai River will freeze by Frozen RiverFest in February 2024.
White said that it will be a “split-the-pot” style fundraiser, with the winner drawn at the festival from the group which made the right choice.
“If the river is frozen by Frozen RiverFest, then we would start selling the Ice Classic tickets,” White said. “It’s a lot that we’re planning.”
For more information about the Soldotna and Kenai Rotary Clubs, visit facebook.com/SoldotnaRotaryClub or facebook.com/Kenairotary.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at email@example.com.