Construction of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ice Palace began Friday, January 27th. Construction involves harvesting ice from Lake Flower, transporting it to the shore and assembling it according to a blueprint. Construction on the palace will continue until the start of the carnival on February 3. The 2017 Winter Carnival will take place February 3rd to the 12th.
The Ice Palace is built by volunteers, organized by a group informally known as the Ice Palace Workers 101 (IPW 101). The public is welcome to volunteer and roles are assigned based on comfort level, skill and ability.
Modern equipment is used for the heavy lifting, but traditional manual methods are practiced as well, including antique hand saws and ice tongs. Another manual process which is critical to the construction is making slush, a mixture of water and snow. The slush forms the mortar which holds the Ice Palace together. Volunteers fill countless buckets with water, pound in snow, carry it to the palace walls and apply the slush with rubber gloved hands.
The palace is located adjacent to the Lake Flower State Boat Launch on River Street.
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Headquarters opens for the season on February 3 at the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at 193 River Street. The headquarters offers a gift shop, maps and information about the various events of the 10 day festival, and serves as a central planning resource for visitors and residents. The headquarters will be open from 9 am to 5 pm from February 3 to 12.
Carnival Headquarters will offer a variety of logo items for sale including shirts, hats, balsam pillows, earrings, magnets, beverage glasses and more. Videos will be featured on screen for people to watch and learn about carnival and local lore. Winter Carnival buttons and posters designed by famous “Doonesbury” cartoonist, Garry Trudeau, from this year and previous years will be available as well. For those who enjoy carnival history there will be a display of the complete button collection including pre-Trudeau buttons. All proceeds from sales benefit the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival.
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee has chosen Barbara Rice as its 2017 Grand Marshal for the Gala Parade, sponsored by the Hotel Saranac.
Barbara is a native of the Adirondacks and a partner in Rice Furniture, a third generation local business. She graduated from Saranac Lake High School and went on to receive her BA from SUNY Plattsburgh in Business and Economics. She later attended PA school at Albany Medical College and worked as a Physician Assistant in Vermont and Massachusetts. In 2005, she returned to Saranac Lake with her husband Chad McCarthy and son Cal to assist in the operations of the family business.
Barbara was elected to the Franklin County Legislature in 2013 and was re-elected in 2017. She currently serves as the Chairwoman of the Board. She was a former Saranac Lake Village Trustee as well as a member of the Harrietstown Board of Assessment and Review. In 2014 she was chosen as one of two county representatives to serve on the NYS Fire Safety and Building Code Council. Most recently she was appointed by Governor Cuomo to serve as a Commissioner of the Adirondack Park Agency.
Barbara has been very active in the local community and is a member of the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce, a Trustee on the Adirondack Health Foundation and a former board member of Habitat for Humanity. She also helped found the Village of Saranac Lake Downtown Advisory Board and the Outdoor Movie Committee.
The public is invited to meet Barbara Rice at the Grand Marshal Reception on February 7 at 5 pm held at the Red Fox Restaurant located at 5034 Route 3 in Saranac Lake. The Grand Marshal Reception is a free event. Snacks will be served and a cash bar will be available. The reception is followed by the Winter Carnival Royalty Dinner at 6 pm which is by reservation only and requires a meal choice, the cost is $35. To RSVP for the dinner, contact Milt Adams at (518) 891-4367 by January 31. All proceeds from the Royalty Dinner benefit the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival.
For more information, visit the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival website.
Photos: Volunteers Building the 2016 Ice Palace, and Barbara Rice courtesy Saranac Lake.