Hammond Acres Club, Inc.
welcomes you to the Meltdown Page
Back in 2004, Goshen resident Bob Labrie was approached by the town’s 225th Anniversary Committee who was looking for ways to raise money for the event.
At the time, Bob worked in Connecticut which meant that he spent a lot of time listening to the radio. The concept of putting a 69-pound block of concrete on the ice of Hammond Pond in Goshen MA started after hearing a report on NPR of a similar event. The idea wasn’t new. Folks up at Joe’s Pond in West Danville Vermont had been doing it since 1988. Bob contacted Don Walker, the person who had been running their event, to get advice on the right way to get an event like this off the ground. Don was gracious with his time and his recommendations for us. Without his help, this contest wound not have become as successful as it is today.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The block sits on a wooden pallet that holds a flag. The flag is simply a marker that shows where the block is in the event it gets completely covered in snow. The block is connected to a Timex electric clock by a rope. The clock is plugged into an outlet in the gatehouse on the dam holding back Hammond Pond. Once the block falls through the ice or the ice floe moves away from the dam, the tension on the cord will pull the plug out of the wall socket and stop the clock.
Our version of a Rube Goldberg machine has worked flawlessly since the beginning.
For this 50/50 raffle, participants submit a date and time they think the clock will stop. The closest to the actual time (without going over) wins.
The deadline for ticket submissions is April 1st. Back in 2016, the block fell through the ice on March 11th – almost three weeks before the deadline. Over the past two years, the block has gone down on March 27th (2021) and March 28th (2021). Tickets received after April 1st (unless they were postmarked on or before that date) will be returned. This date is weather dependent and will be irrelevant if the block falls through the ice before the deadline.
Meltdown End Dates by Year
Do you see a trend? I’ve been trying to identify one for years. When comparing these dates to El Niño and La Niña Years and their intensities, a clear correlation could not be made.
Meltdown Benefactors by Year
Each of the benefactors listed above has a positive impact on either the people of or people in Goshen or the surrounding community.
Click on the year below to see contest updates for that period.
There’s never been a greater time for a Meltdown that now. For the past two years, we’ve done our best to stay healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic. With the hope that this year’s contest will provide a much-needed respite and distraction from the world’s problems and allow us to focus on the end of the contest which marks the beginning of spring (in my book anyway), let the 2022 Meltdown begin!
The benefactor of this year’s fundraising efforts will be the Williams-Boltwood House Trust (WBH). The WBH trust is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to acquire, restore and preserve the property known as the Williams-Boltwood House in Goshen MA and its associated artifacts as a museum for the education of diverse audiences about the history and culture of Goshen and surrounding region.
Regular updates are posted here and on the Meltdown Facebook page. Additional tickets can also be downloaded from this site using the link above. Participants that include an e-mail address on their ticket stub will be added to a private e-mail distribution list that is used to provide periodic updates and snapshots of the block. The current list includes several hundred addresses of people who are regularly entertained by these updates. The sooner your tickets are returned, the sooner you can become part of that exclusive group.
The deadline for ticket submissions is Wednesday, April 1st at 11:59:59 P.M. Back in 2016, the block fell through the ice on March 11th – almost three weeks before the deadline. Tickets received after April 1st (unless they were postmarked on or before that date) will be returned. This date is weather dependent and will be irrelevant if the block falls through the ice before the deadline.
Here are some statistics from the past 17 years of Meltdown events to consider as you make your selections:
- The most popular dates continue to be 4/1 (842), 4/15 (837), 4/10 (833), 4/12 (797) and 4/2 (762).
- 84% of all guesses have been for dates between March 27th and April 26th.
- The average date the contest ended over the past 17 years was April 7th.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Click on the flags for the answers to your questions.
Checks should be made payable to the Hammond Acres Club, Inc.
Ticket stubs and payment should be mailed to:
P.O. Box 866
Goshen, MA 01032-0866
The Williams-Boltwood House Trust, Inc. – a non-profit 501(c)3 group organized to acquire, restore and preserve the property known as the Williams-Boltwood House in Goshen MA and its associated artifacts as a museum for the education of diverse audiences about the history and culture of Goshen and surrounding region.
The house at 2 Williams Drive served as Goshen’s first general store, first post office, first tavern, first inn, and first meeting house.
The deadline for ticket submissions is Friday, April 1st at 11:59:59PM. Back in 2016, the block fell through the ice on March 11th– almost three weeks before the deadline. For the past two years, the block fell through on March 28th (2020) and March 29th (2021). Tickets received after April 1st (unless they were postmarked on or before that date) will be returned. This date is weather dependent and will be irrelevant if the block falls through the ice before the deadline.
There is no limit to the number of tickets that can be purchased.
The winner of the Meltdown will be the person who comes closest to the actual time the Timex clock is unplugged from the outlet at the gatehouse without going over. We like to refer to this as the Price is Right rule.
Here is our binge-worthy library of videos taken over the years of the Meltdown Contest.
2019 – This time-lapse video captures 11 hours of activity on Saturday, April 13th from 8:30AM to 7:30 PM and shows the impact Mother Nature can have on the ice floe on Hammond Pond. As you watch the video, pay close attention to the crack in the ice along the shoreline on the left. It’s amazing to see the impact wind has on the surface of the ice – something our eyes can’t perceive because it happens in slow motion. Condensing 11 hours of video into 3 1/2 minutes brings the ice floe to life.
2016 – The above is a time lapse video of clouds streaming over Hammond Pond in Goshen one day before the ice finally gave out and ended the 2016 Meltdown contest.
2015 – “For nine of the ten years the Goshen Meltdown has been held, participants have been urged to pick a date in April. For nine of the ten years the Goshen Meltdown has been held, the ice has melted and the block has sunk in..wait for it…April. With that in mind, I issue the following challenge for the sake of the contest. Over the past 10 years, an average of 1,572 tickets have been sold each year. If more than 1,750 tickets are sold for the 2015 Meltdown, ice or no ice, I will jump into the lake on Sunday, April 26th just to prove to you frozen non-believers that the ice will be gone by May 1st. After all, no sacrifice it too great to make for the success and profitability of the 2015 Meltdown.”
That was the challenge that was issued. 1,752 tickets were sold. Steve and I went for a swim.
2015 – Here is a fish eye’s view of what the ice shelf looks like on Hammond Pond in Goshen on Sunday, March 15th, 2015.
2014 – I spent some time on the ice on Sunday with fellow Goshen firefighters Jake Lulek and Dan Daley. We drilled a few holes in the ice with an auger so I could measure its depth.
2011 – Todd Haskell and I ventured out onto the ice with his auger to determine its thickness.