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From the archive: Lady Liberty’s appearance in 1996

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Lady Liberty has made a variety of appearances on the frozen ice of Lake Mendota since the original turned up one morning in 1979.

Video from the 27 News archives, above, shows one version that was put up in 1996. At that time, it appeared to be a wood and Styrofoam structure.

The latest will grace the lake again Feb. 6 as part of The Wisconsin Union's Winter Carnival. This will be the second year in a row the inflatable Lady Liberty will be part of the festivities.

The Statue of Liberty tradition began with a prank in 1979 by the Pail and Shovel Party, which was led by UW-Madison alumni Leon Varjian and Jim Mallon ’79. Varjian and Mallon made a campaign promise that, if elected to the Wisconsin Student Association, they would bring the Statue of Liberty to Madison.

After a successful election, the Pail and Shovel Party stayed true to their Lady Liberty promise by erecting a Styrofoam Lady Liberty head, arm and torch on Lake Mendota Feb. 22, 1979.

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Dan Plutchak

Social Media and Digital Content Manager, 27 News

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