Iceworm 2019 weekend events take off

Food fair, cribbage tournament and paper airplane contest kickstart historic festival

A rainy start that greeted Cordova’s 2019 Iceworm Festival has in no way dampened the spirit of the event.

Shouts of “Happy Worm!” can be heard on Main Street. Iceworm-themed baked goods, bobble antenna headbands and new pop sockets donning the iconic iceworm cartoon quietly snuck their way into shops and events as the weekend began Jan. 26.

The festival kicked off with the Food Fair at the Little Chapel, followed by the Beer Mile Space Race at Hartney Bay, where runners downed beer and carefully maneuvered over the icy pavement.

The Bidarki Classic Volleyball Tournament wrapped up opening night with competitive games of volleyball at Mt. Eccles Elementary School, complete with a cheering section too.

By Sunday afternoon, kids were running into the Bidarki Recreation Center, with their eyes on the prize.

Numerous brown cardboard boxes filled with children’s toys lined the gym floor; however the main attraction was the furthest box.  In it sat a brand new Apple Watch, won by Tyee Lohse whose paper airplane hit the back wall to seal the deal during the final round.


Paper airplanes swished, zoomed and flopped onto the gym floor below, as eager children ran back to the table to fold more paper or claim their prize.

The Iceworm Paper Airplane contest was created in the early ‘90s by Sam and Lennette Ronnegard. The pair organized and led the event for four or five years.

“The first year, my uncle spent hours all summer getting prizes,” Jessica Arasmith said, noting the four-wheeler he scored for the contest. “It was a family event. (My sister and I) would be the ones helping gather the planes and prizes.”

Darrel Olsen fondly remembers the event and the buzz it created around town.

“I remember some kids were really into it,” he said. “They checked out a book from the library of how to make paper airplanes.”

Four years ago, Arasmith and Cindy Bradford brought back the event, now sponsored by GCI. This year’s contest was the busiest in the past four years with more than 3,000 sheets of paper used, up from last year’s 2,400.

Prizes were donated by AC, ACE Hardware, GCI and COPE.

“It’s wonderful to be able to have an event that was such an important event to my family and to come back and I’m able to be a part of that,” Arasmith said.

This weekend’s events include the Iceworm Variety Show featuring Miss Iceworm Coronation, Citizen of the Year Award and the Beard Judging Contest from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 1; Survival Suit Races at the Harbor at 10:30 a.m., the Arts and Crafts Fair at the Cordova Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Iceworm Parade at 1 p.m. and the Fireworks Extravaganza at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2.

To view the festival’s full schedule, visit