FAIRBANKS, Alaska — The board of Ice Alaska has canceled the 2018 World Ice Art Championships, citing the loss of sponsors and the challenges of rebuilding after a 2016 fire that destroyed the main building of the Ice Alaska Ice Park.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports a news release by the nonprofit organization said it plans to prepare for the ice sculpting competition in 2019. The organization also stated it may not hold the 2019 event at the George Horner Ice Park.

Ice Alaska plans to refund donors who already made contributions for the 2018 event.

“Ice Alaska has spent the summer reorganizing and rebuilding as a 100 percent all volunteer nonprofit,” the Ice Alaska said in the release posted Saturday on icealaska.com. “We fully intended to produce a 2018 event. However, after the loss of two major commercial donors, and our title sponsor slashing their support to a notably smaller amount, the Board of Directors needed to make a decision.”

Ice Alaska board member Rhonda Konicki said she had heard from George Horner Ice Park property owner Dick Brickley that his business D&H Enterprises plans to build the ice park in mid-February, even without the accompanying ice competition. The ice park usually features ice slides, a maze and other attractions for children.

The Ice Alaska board made the decision to cancel the event Wednesday night, Konicki said.

Between 80 and 100 artists were expected to participate in the 2018 competition, Konicki said. About 20 volunteers from outside Fairbanks also planned to travel to the city for the event.

The World Ice Art Championships has taken place since 1989, The 2018 competition was planned for Feb. 26 to March 17.

Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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