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96th annual Nenana Ice Classic tickets on sale

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Tickets for the 96th annual Nenana Ice Classic went on sale Wednesday at some 200 locations statewide.

The Ice Classic is one of Alaska's oldest traditions. Entrants buy tickets for $2.50 each and record guesses for the precise moment that the ice will break up and move downriver from a customary spot on the Tanana River at the community of Nenana.

People who have guessed the time down to the minute split the proceeds, and the total jackpot is usually worth thousands of dollars.

According to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, last year, ticket sales were brisk, and the total payoff reached its highest ever, $338,062, which was shared by 22 different winning ticket holders.

The first measurement of ice at Nenana was made Jan. 12, and it was only 23 inches thick. Based on previous years, it's typically between 30 and 45 inches thick at that time, says manager Cherrie Forness.

Visit the 2012 Ice Classic website for the complete list of vendors, plus all kinds of break up records, ice measurements and conditions. The deadline to purchase tickets is midnight on April 5. They are available at a variety of locations around Alaska.