When a sensation – be it movie, book or song – finally peaks and starts to fade, people tend to ask if there will be a sequel.
In the case of the Maine's ice disk, which went viral in 2019 and brought people from across the country to Westbrook, the answer is yes.
On Monday, visitors and tourists were taking pictures and gazing at a new ice disk forming in the Presumpscot River right in the city's downtown.
“We came from Chelmsford,” said Patty French, who had driven 90 minutes north with her husband Jim after hearing about the disk on TV.
“The sides are frozen, so it’s not spinning today,” she observed.
Indeed, unlike its predecessor which was a near-perfect circle, the 2020 ice disk incarnation is more of a blob and is covered in snow.
“It’s a little bit of an obscure shape right now, but we hope it becomes a circle,” said Westbrook Mayor Michael Foley, who said the prior ice disk was a very real economic boon for the city, not a mere novelty. “Our city marketing department has some statistics that it was like millions and millions of dollars of free ad space... just because it went viral.”
Even local restaurants profited off of increased foot traffic.
Westbrook House of Pizza added a special “Ice Disc Pizza," which the staff says was popular.
“It was Alfredo sauce, red onion, tomato, ham and garlic I think,” said staffer Kyle Hawarth. “It was an odd combination but it sold very, very well.”
A year later, even in the absence of a special pizza, a perfect spherical shape and a spin, the new disc is still capturing visitors’ attention.
“There’s nothing like that at home, that we’ve ever seen,” said Darlene Donahue, of Methuen.
In fact, many here, even folks who drove from more than an hour away, were planning to come back.
There is, after all, plenty of winter to go and reason to think or at least hope the wheel in the river will keep on turning.
“I think it’ll get bigger,” said Donahue.
While Westbrook officials are celebrating the ice disk’s second act and touting all the free parking nearby, they are warning visitors not to go out on the ice.