Warm weather closes ice castles, rinks for the season; other events affected

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The Eden Prairie Ice Castles season lasted less than a month as Friday's warm weather and rain forced its closure, with other icy events planned for this weekend also affected in Minnesota.

The popular attraction announced Friday evening would be its last night open in the 2016, saying the castle sculpture had deteriorated "more rapidly than we have ever had happen."

It follows temperatures in the Twin Cities reaching the mid-40s on Friday, which was accompanied by a driving rain, brief thunderstorm and strong winds that has seen much of the last month's snow melt.

It is expected to stay warm through Saturday and though temperatures will drop Sunday and into next week, they will still however just under or above freezing point.

The ice castles said an email will be sent to anyone who bought tickets for the season that they now can't use.

"We're extremely disappointed that we are having to close early, but as the weather changes, so must our plans," its statement said. "Thank you for your understanding, and thank you all for a wonderful season in Eden Prairie this year!"

Rinks close, ice house update

The Star Tribune reports a number of metro area cities have shut down their outdoor ice rinks for the season in the wake of the warm weather, which includes: Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Bloomington, Golden Valley, Roseville and Eden Prairie.

St. Paul's are still open but non-refrigerated rinks will no longer be maintained, the newspaper notes, while Edina and Shoreview closed their rinks for the weekend and will decide on Monday if they are done for the season. Woodbury's are also closed, except for the refrigerated rink at Bielenberg Sports Center.

Meanwhile the Art Shanty Projects Festival, a month-long weekend event held on White Bear Lake, has also closed this weekend because of thin ice conditions.

On its Facebook page, organizers said: "Art Shanty Projects is cancelled this weekend due to inclement weather conditions making the ice unsafe."

Ice house owners should also check the conditions of their respective fishing lakes, with an alert sent out by Sherburne County on Friday urging owners to "not wait until the last minute to remove their fish houses."

The reason for this is Friday's rain has left standing water on the lake, which will freeze making it difficult to remove the houses without damage.

The deadline to remove ice houses in Minnesota is March 7.

TCF Bank update

TCF Bank Stadium will on Sunday host the NHL Stadium Series pitting the Minnesota Wild against the Chicago Blackhawks.

An alumni game will be held on the rink on Saturday as well, and NHL staff told the Pioneer Press that the outdoor ice will still be ready to go despite Friday's warmth and rain.

"There's nothing here that alarms us or puts anything on notice here," NHL senior director of facilities operations Dan Craig told the newspaper.

Also still going ahead this weekend are Polar Plunge events at Prior Lake, and in Duluth and St. Cloud, which will see participants raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota.

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