The Empire Arts Center is launching an Ice Thickness Challenge, a 50/50 game of chance in which contestants predict how thick the ice on the Red River will be at noon Feb. 12.

Participants will pay $20 per prediction. Proceeds will be split evenly between the winning prediction and the Empire Arts Center.

There are more than 150 measurements to choose from, said Maddie Sharpe, program manager for the Empire Arts Center. There is no limit to the number of predictions an individual may purchase.

The measurement will be taken somewhere between the forks of the river and the Kennedy Bridge. The AE2S engineering firm is the only entity that will know the exact location where the measurement will be taken, Sharpe said.

Employees of AE2S will drill a hole in the ice at noon Feb. 12 and use an electric caliper to calibrate the measurement to one-thousandth of an inch. They will determine true north and take the measurement at the true north point of that drilled hole.

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When the final measurement is announced, every person who predicted the ice thickness correctly will share in a 50% cash pot of all tickets sold, with the other 50% benefitting the Empire Arts Center.

Winners will be contacted by the Empire to receive their winnings.

The more tickets sold, the more cash the correct predictions will win, Sharpe said.

In addition to AE2S, corporate sponsors of the event are Brady Martz and Associates, the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau, and WDAY.

Due to COVID-19 precautions, predictions can only be purchased online through the Eventbrite page for this event. Participants can visit, the Empire Arts Center social media pages, or the Eventbrite page, for more information and tickets.

Send an email to or call (701) 746-5500 with questions.