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Tobyhanna Ice Harvest canceled for the second year in a row

The Tobyhanna Ice Harvest was scheduled for Saturday but organizers decided to cancel it for two very different reasons.

Jack Frost showed up too late this year. The delay in cold weather forced Bill Leonard to make the tough decision to cancel the annual Tobyhanna Ice Harvest.

It was originally scheduled to take place Saturday morning at Tobyhanna Mill Pond in Coolbaugh Township.

"The last few days have been pretty cold, and we have about 8 inches of ice out there. We could have harvested, but it's going to be awful cold, and I think the crowds would be pretty low," said Leonard.

This is the second year the harvest had to be canceled because of weather or lack thereof.

The harvest teaches people about the ice industry and shows how the process works.

"We had our first ice harvest in February of 1994. We had 25 inches of ice that day. We harvested ice off the lake, filled the ice house here with about 50 tons of ice, and every year since then, we've been doing the ice harvest. It shows the history of the area. This was an important industry. Ice harvesting in the 1900s was one of the biggest industries here in Monroe County," said Leonard.

Another reason the event was canceled is the ongoing pandemic, but it wasn't without trying. Organizers did look back in history books to see how people handled an ice harvest during the 1918 Spanish Flu.

"I checked old ice harvest books that I got and no mention of the 1918 flu and how they handled that. It was a big impact on local industry and things like that because of the contagiousness of the disease—no reference to it. I know labor was short and they used prisoners of war that were housed at Tobyhanna Army Depot for some years, and so they brought in labor from outside in New York City. Labor was short, and I am sure during the 1918 pandemic, they had problems harvesting ice, but I couldn't find a record of it," said Leonard.

Leonard tells Newswatch 16 this is the first time the event had to be canceled two years in a row.

The hope is for better luck in 2022.

RELATED: Thin Ice Cancels Tobyhanna Ice Harvest

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