Since 1897, the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival has been a festival as unique as the community that shapes it.
According to Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee Public Relations Chair Colleen O’Neill, the event is a special time for everyone. It may have started as a means to relieve the winter blues, but has evolved into a venue for a variety of events. From Flowerball to Arctic Golf, the Winter Carnival has so many offerings that participants have to pick and choose between their favorite activities.
“We try to introduce new events every year and keep the most popular ones,” says O’Neill. “This year we are offering a new twist on an old favorite. On Saturday, February 6, we are hosting the ‘Little Ladies Frying Pan Toss.’ The Ladies Frying Pan Toss has been a carnival favorite and now we will host the event for girls. We have two age groups: 8-12 year olds and 13-17 year olds. People can participate or just show up to watch someone try to sling a frying pan. It’s all fun.”
With over a century of experience to draw from, the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is now a ten-day festival of sports, races, parades, live performances and fireworks. Highlights include tubing races, an ultimate frisbee competition, a scavenger hunt, snowshoe races, as well as curling and woodsmen exhibitions. The event also features an ice palace depicting each year’s theme. This year people can choose to show their Superhero or Villain side with their choice of button, at the dance party or the annual parade.
“If the weather isn’t cooperating it has always been our mission to find another way and make things work,” say O’Neill. “There have always been years that Winter Carnival has been impacted by the weather, but the tradition is to pull together and make things fun. Snow or ice, the events can be altered or changed. We have made things fluid for that reason.”
“I think Winter Carnival is important because it brings people together to celebrate winter. A person doesn’t have to be sports oriented to get outside and enjoy these events. It challenges them to do something they may not normally do. People tend to hibernate in the winter and this is an opportunity to try new things, see old friends and meet new people.”
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival starts Friday, February 5 and ends Sunday, February 14. Enjoy!
Photo of the Saranac Lake Ice Palace used with the permission of Diane Chase, AdirondackFamilyTime.com