National Cordova Ice Worm Day is celebrated on February 3. A creature so unusual that it has its own festival lives deep within the glacial ice of Alaska’s frozen north. Its name sounds like something from a fantasy novel, and the conditions in which it thrives are hostile to most other forms of life. Of course, we’re referring to the Cordova ice worm. Every year, a festival is held to honor this creature, lift the spirits of those who live nearby, and demonstrate that there is something to celebrate even in the dead of winter!
History of National Cordova Ice Worm Day
The first National Cordova Ice Worm Day was held in 1961 when local city planners decided that a large festival was needed to honor the town’s heritage and discover the unique creature that lived nearby glaciers and snowfields. In the first event, a mascot development contest was held, with the winner receiving $15 and an honorable place in the parade.
The end result was nothing short of spectacular: a 150-foot-long terrorist with a massive head, ferocious eyes, and 74 legs carrying it. The ice worm, which is colorful and inspiring, has forever captured the hearts of the locals. The celebration would include a special fishing competition off the city docks, a beard-growing competition in which all local men were forced to compete, and an Iceworm Queen beauty pageant.
To demonstrate the craziness of the holiday, a skiing race from Mile 5 bridge to the Davis Store would be held, with all forms of cheating and shortcuts permitted. These are just a few of the incredible events that captivated the Cordovans’ hearts and ensured that the holiday would be observed every year after that.
The ice worm is a real creature that was discovered in the 1800s. However, Cordova’s oldest festival, which began in 1961, is more concerned with providing a cure for the winter blues. And this weeklong festival is still held during the hopeful time of year when the days begin to lengthen; it begins in late January and runs through early February.
While many of the town’s other festivals are centered on education or sustainability, this one is all about having a good time. People celebrate the return of light, the lengthening of the days, and, of course, the gathering of the community. It’s put on by a local volunteer board, of course, the Ice Worm Board, and local businesses.
National Cordova Ice Worm Day timeline
Dr. G. F. Wright finds them on Muir Glacier in Glacier Bay.
Mesenchytraeus solifugus, the most common species of ice worm, is named by Italian entomologist Carlo Emery
The inaugural Iceworm Event takes place in 1961 when local municipal authorities determines that a large festival is required to commemorate the city's centennial.
In its 60-year history, Cordova Ice Worm Day has provided little scientific information on its mascot.
National Cordova Ice Worm Day FAQs
Why do we celebrate National Cordova Ice Worm Day?
It’s because local city officials felt that a large celebration was required to commemorate the town’s past as well as the discovery of the rare species that resided in the neighboring glaciers and snowfields.
Was it the ice worm or the festival that arrived first?
Ice worms, believe it or not, are actual ice-dwelling animals! They existed before our much-loved event.
What exactly do ice worms do?
Ice worms are only one of the many creatures that use the ice for food and habitat. They consume the algae and pollen that bloom and fall in the glacier to survive.
National Cordova Ice Worm Day Activities
Take a trip to Cordova
The best way, by far, is to travel to Cordova, Alaska. Once you reach there, spend the holiday exploring its native land.
Participate in a fishing contest
Host a fishing tournament at a local fishing hole, and spread the word about the ice worm to all of your friends and family. This incredible event is sure to fascinate and enthrall them, and the Iceworm will be pleased!
Share it on social media
Share your story about this interesting day on social media. Tell everyone about your adventure!
5 Interesting Facts About Ice Worms
It’s home to tiny organisms
Glaciers are home to a plethora of small species that form a thriving freezing ecology.
It’s part of an ecosystem
Rotifers, tardigrades, algae, fungus, and other tiny animals coexist with ice worms.
On 20 different glaciers, ice worms have been observed and collected.
Tiny little things
Ice worms are around 1/4 inches long and 1/32 inches broad.
More than the human population
This glacier contains more than seven billion ice worms.
Why We Love National Cordova Ice Worm Day
It celebrates the town’s heritage
It acknowledges and commemorates the large cultural celebration. Local municipal authorities commemorate the day by honoring the cultural legacy of the numerous cultures that make up the ice worm population.
It brings new energy
A skiing race, in which all types of cheating and shortcuts were permitted, was held to show the holiday's craziness. These are only a few of the remarkable occurrences that captivated the Cordovans' hearts and ensured that the holiday would be observed every year after that.
It celebrates unique diversity
This day is an opportunity to celebrate the unique kinds of creatures on the planet. Ice worms are unique creatures that live in the nearby glaciers and snowfields.
National Cordova Ice Worm Day dates