Food Trucks A-Go in Boothbay has built the first ice palace in Maine made from running water that has been frozen into a giant castle. Eighty to 100 years ago there were a few ice castles in Maine, but they were made from blocks of ice. The Boothbay Ice Palace is complete with hallways and a grand staircase to the roof.
With 85,000 Christmas lights surrounding it, the palace is a mystical place. Castle owner Lester Spear said people stopped by while the castle was being built to take photos for next year’s Christmas cards and are filming videos like they are in the movie “Frozen.”
The ice palace was scheduled to officially open for business on Wednesday, Feb. 17. There will be three food trucks selling burgers, pizza, chowder, fish sandwiches, kettle corn, fudge, drinks, and more.
“People can hang out and eat. People love going through it,” Spear said of the ice castle.
Spear said the palace was “supposed to be way bigger than this. We have had horrible weather for this.” He said higher-than-normal temperatures in January delayed the project. The building of the castle started three weeks ago, when temperatures dropped to more typical levels.
Spear said there are only two companies that make this kind of ice palace. He partnered with a company out of Idaho called LaBelle Lake Ice Palace.
“It is amazing,” Spear said of the experience of walking through an ice palace.
The palace is made by water flowing over columns and tubes and freezing. The shapes are sprayed with running water in frigid temperatures to form the castle.
Spear hopes this year’s ice castle is the first of many. He is already planning for the winter of 2022 and making a much larger castle at a bigger location.
Food Trucks A-Go has grown since it started out as a way to provide food to visitors to Gardens Aglow, the annual light show at the Boothbay Region Botanical Gardens.
Food Trucks A-Go extended its season with the formation of the ice palace. Next year, Spear plans to make the ice castle bigger and more interactive, with slides and new items. “If we move to a different spot, we can make it bigger and people can have a fuller experience.”
The ice palace, located on Route 27, will be open Feb. 17-28, and maybe longer if the weather stays cold. It is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. The food trucks open at 4 p.m.
Visitors that come before 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday will get a free bag of kettle corn.
The cost to visit the ice palace is $9. It is free for children under 5.
Masks are required and all the usual COVID-19 rules apply.
Spear said he was a little nervous about opening the food trucks this year and then building the ice palace, but in the end decided to open because “people are looking for things to do, and to get outside.”
The ice palace fits the bill and is a fun way for families to get out and enjoy the winter. There will be fires for warming areas some nights.