Nenana, Alaska, 55 road miles southwest of Fairbanks on the Parks Highway, is famous
for the yearly 'Nenana Ice Classic', 'Alaska's biggest guessing game'.
The goal is to guess the date and exact time when the ice on the Tanana River will move
downstream, starting the spring breakup. Whoever guesses right, wins a lot of money.
People from all over Alaska -and from other states and other countries- compete each year.
And the town makes a nice profit on this lottery.
Each winter a large black and white 'tripod' is raised on the frozen river.
This tripod is connected to a wooden tower on the dock, and to a clock inside the tower.
When the ice breaks and the tripod starts to move, the clock is stopped instantly.
Nenana is in the westernmost portion of Tanana Athabascan indian territory.
The Athabascan word Nenana means 'a good place to camp between the rivers'.
The town boomed in the early 1920s as a construction base with thousands of workers for
the Alaska Railroad. It was in this period when the Ice Classic was born.