The hot weather always creates an interesting year for the eager crew of CampArcticans and their sno-globe and icicle-clad igloo — and a profitable year for the Gerlach organizations that benefit from donations of ice sales profits.
After several years as a poor stepchild of the Café, 2000 was the first year in which CampArctica established its own identity and began to create a real community. In 2001 we built upon and deepened that community and improved our physical structure.
The challenge of managing on-playa Ice Sales begins early in the year, as we negotiate contracts with our ice vendor, begin planning the structure, develop ideas for décor, recruit volunteers and review procedures.
Following 2000’s smooshed-wedding-cake igloo, Burning Man’s talented designers and builders completely redesigned the CampArctica structure for 2001. This year Arctica was a beautiful cathedral-like, peaked-dome structure, built in advance in component parts in the shop at Black Rock Station by the DPW and assembled on-playa. This structure will be fully reusable next year.
With a solid core of returning managers and team members we worked all year to address the challenge of maintaining communication and community across a team with only one member based in the Bay Area, the General Manager. A healthy rivalry developed between the Seattle, Sacramento and Los Angeles contingents to see who could contribute the best décor ideas and props. A core group of Antarticans coalesced this year, camping together, eating together, working together, and terrorizing the city together wearing an enormous leech costume (!).
Our operational procedures stayed largely the same, although we reduced shifts from 4 to 3 hours to accommodate our volunteers’ schedules. In response to citizen feedback, we expanded our hours to stay open on Sunday and Monday at the end of the event. We will retain this longer schedule in 2002, for we recognize that ice *is* the most valuable resource on the playa! We also added a Donation Box to replace last year’s Tip Jar, to allow citizens to further support the local Gerlach and Empire organizations that benefit from Ice profits. In 2002, these included:
- The Greater Gerlach Improvement District
- Gerlach Senior Citizens
- Gerlach High School
- The Jeremy Williams Scholarship Fund
- Volunteer Fire Department
- Water tower projects
- The Black Rock Arts Foundation
- The Nevada Humane Society
After so many months of planning, our biggest challenge turned out to be the weather, as the demand for ice caught us, and our vendor, unprepared, resulting in long lines as we waited for ice trucks to replenish our supply. After selling 6 truckloads of ice in 1999 and 7 truckloads in 2000, we found ourselves cleaning out THIRTEEN (13!) 45′ semi trucks loaded with ice in 2001. Replenishment was supported by our partnership with the folks at the Gate and Greeters, who radioed ahead as each truck arrived, cleared an open lane on Gate Road to speed them in to the city, waved them through the Greeters lanes and directed them to their Center Camp destination. In 2002 we promise faster truck replenishment, more sales registers, and wider counters to accommodate folks more quickly in case we have another hot year.