There are a couple of great winter sports events this New Year’s Eve week. The Olympic Regional Development Authority and NYSEF will be hosting their annual New Year’s Masters Ski Jump and the NYSEF Nordic Combined and Ski Jump on December 29 and 30 at the Ski Jumps in Lake Placid. Daily admission to the ski jumping events is $14 for adults, $8 for juniors/seniors while children 6 and under enter free. Snacks and beverages will also be sold by Centerplate at the base of the chair lift. For more information, visit orda.org.
Skate into the New Year on the Olympic Speed Skating Oval in Lake Placid- there will be a skating party to benefit the food pantry on New Year’s Eve from 10:30 pm until 12:30 am. Bring your figure, hockey, or speed skates and enjoy free refreshments. Admission is five dollars, and students with a valid student id get in free. Skaters are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate. For more information, visit their event page Christie Sausa writes about national and international winter sports and blogs at www.lakeplacidskater.blogspot.com
First Night celebrations offer families an opportunity to bring in the New Year in a healthy fashion. Originating in Boston over 35 years ago, First Night originators wanted to provide non-alcohol related New Year’s Eve festivities. The arts centered event grew from a small community celebration to what now showcases Boston’s diverse culture and art. There are now 200 similarly modeled celebrations worldwide. In our part of the world, Saratoga Springs and Saranac Lake are two such sanctioned events.
For the fifteenth year the First Night Saratoga’s button gets the recipient into all 35 First Night venues and 70 First Night performances and happenings. Events start at 6:00 p.m. at a variety of locations and continue through midnight. Jackie Marchand, Saratoga First Night coordinator says, “ This is the first year that Saratoga Arts is presenting First Night. The YMCA presented the event for fourteen years and wanted to continue to focus on their fitness programs. The Art Center’s Executive Director felt it was a good fit for an art institution to take over and continue to make art accessible to all.”
“There are new programs to look forward to this year, “ says Marchand.” The theme is ‘Live Creatively’ so we are presenting art in all its forms. There will be something for everyone from film, music, comedy, dance and even interactive visual art.”
Marchard gives one such example of interactive art. Ghost Train, a digital graffiti installation originally featured at Burning Man 2010, is a projected New York City subway train where participants can use an “aerosol can” to tag designs onto the train. Light is used rather than paint.
CDTA buses will run all night for free along the route. There are plenty of parking lots in the city as well as on street parking. The fireworks will bring in the New Year from Congress Park at midnight. A DJ will do the countdown and provide music onsite while people are waiting for the fireworks.
Saranac Lake will celebrate its fifth First Night that continues the tradition of providing non-alcoholic, family-friendly, visual arts oriented activities to all. The $12 button is available at a variety of locations while children (12 and under) are issued a special button allowing them access for free. Opening ceremonies are at the Harrietstown Town Hall at 5:45 p.m.
Puppet shows, storytellers, live music and performers are just a few of the 42 activities at over 12 venues around Saranac Lake. All performances end near midnight so participants can make it to River Street to watch “the snowflake” drop for the New Year’s countdown and welcome fireworks over Lake Flower. There is a community bus available to various locations for $1.00/ride.
However you choose to spend your New Year’s Eve, I wish you a healthy and safe celebration. Happy New Year!
It’s that time of year again, when men with whiskers shave-down in anticipation of growing their Donegal for this year’s Adirondack Donegal Beard Contest. New beardsmen are welcome to take part in the event, which is free and open to the public.
A Donegal Beard (also called a chin-curtain or Lincoln) is a particular style of Irish hirsute appendage (facial hair) that grows along the jaw line and covers the chin — no soul patch, no mustache. This year marks the contest’s third year. In order to take part in the contest (and all are welcome) contestants must be clean shaven January 1st and grow a Donegal Beard by St. Patrick’s Day. On the day of the contest, held at Basil and Wicks on Route 28 in North Creek, 4 to 7 pm — all beards must conform to the Donegal standard.
Contestants are judged on length, fullness, style and sophistication.
To see pictures from last year’s contest, and to join the Facebook group, go here.
Long Track Marathon Speed Skating is coming to Lake Placid on December 18th and 19th for the annual Lake Placid Speed Skating Marathon. A Marathon Skating International (MSI) and Lake Placid Speed Skating Club event, the marathon is one of several in a series of ice marathons that take place throughout North America.
The race distances include 10K, 25K, and 40K, which translates to 25 laps, 40 laps, and 104 laps skated on the 400 meter Olympic Speed Skating Oval. Skaters ranging in age from 10-80 have been known to participate, and participants are from the United States and Canada. Marathon Skating is a popular discipline in North America but even more so in Europe. A popular race in Holland, Elfstedentocht, (also known as the eleven cities tour) started the tradition of skating long distances. Marathon Racing is especially popular in Canada, and many marathons are held there; one of the most well-known is the Big Rideau Lake Speed Skating Marathon in Portland, Ontario. Lake Placid is one of the few venues in the United States that hosts a skating marathon every year.
Lake Placid Speed Skating Club will be hosting more speed skating races, the Charles Jewtraw All Around (all distances) on January 8th and 9th and the Jack Shea Sprints (sprint distances) to be announced. For more information about marathon skating and speed skating in Lake Placid, visit http://www.marathonskating.org and http://lakeplacidspeed.sports.officelive.com/default.aspx
Children of all ages are most likely familiar with one of the over 100 children’s books illustrated by Steven Kellogg. If you are one of the few unfamiliar with his work the opportunity to right such a travesty is at hand.
Children’s book author/illustrator Steven Kellogg will be in Essex this Saturday along with University of Vermont history lecturer Andy Buchanan to celebrate the holidays with a narration of The Incredible History of Samuel de Champlain’s Cat and Kellogg’s book, The Island of Skog.
Starting at 4:00 p.m. on December 18th, this benefit for the North Country Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty to Animals (NCSPCA) will be held at Whallonsburg Grange Hall. “Steven is a generous supporter of the shelter,” explains Margaret Reuther, President of the Board of Directors for the NCSPCA. “There will be a reading with Andy Buchanan loosely based on the history of Samuel de Champlain’s cat. Steven and Andy wrote it together. It is wonderful. Steven is glorious drawing on the spot. We had done a similar event in the summer and it turned out so well that we thought it would be wonderful to do another near Christmas. One of our goals for the organization is to gain positive feelings for our shelter. We also hope to raise some much needed money.”
In the second part of the evening’s activities, Kellogg will again be illustrating on the spot while retelling his popular book The Island of Skog. The drawings created onsite will be part of a Silent Auction. Kellogg is also donating 50% of the sale of two of his books, And I Love You and The Island of Skog to the animal shelter. Both of which can be personally autographed at the event. Cider and cookies will be served and all proceeds will benefit the NCSPCA.
“The North Country SPCA is the only animal shelter for all of Essex Country, one of the largest counties for New York State,” says Reuther. “Each year we care for over 400 homeless, abandoned and abused cats and dogs. We have an amazing staff that works extraordinarily hard to give loving care to these cats and dogs,” says Reuther. “We give medical care to the animals. We spay and neuter. Our goal is to find a loving family for each and every animal. We are also a no kill shelter. We welcome volunteers. We encourage everyone to come and visit.”
Reuther explains that some volunteers have a specific routine and spend a few hours a week walking dogs or cleaning cat cages. Other volunteers may show up sporadically and help out where they are needed.
“We love volunteers,” say Reuther. “We have people that will come and walk the dogs and foster the cats. Our shelter manager, Pam Rock, is truly extraordinary so anyone interested should call and talk with her. We even have teenage volunteers that will show up after school. It is a great way to help out.”
Reuther understands that not everyone is able to have a pet. Volunteering at the NCSPCA is an opportunity for families and young children to see the level of care necessary for keeping an animal. Allowing children to assist with these homeless animals will help them grow into responsible pet owners.
“I know one family that has been coming with their eight-year-old child every Sunday to walk dogs,” Reuther explains. “We also have an older couple that do not have a dog but they travel frequently so they come two or three times a week. It is a wide gamut of people. ”
The organization does there best to care for “surrendered” animals. Reuther admits the task seems endless. She briefly mentions how the NCSPCA is overflowing with cats. There are no New York State laws pertaining to cats. There are dog control officers but nothing for cats. She encourages people to contact Pam at the shelter whether they have to give up a family pet or have found a stray.
So perhaps all the holiday shopping isn’t yet complete or one more gift can be squeezed into that stocking. Adopting a pet isn’t the only option to help out animals in need this season. To enjoy the reading and watch Kellogg ply his craft live, the NCSPCA asks for a donation of $5.00 per adult while children under 12 are free.
The Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program is now accepting applications for the program beginning in January 2011. Space is limited, so contact your local office soon for an application. Information about the program can be found on the CCE Warren County website.
After enrolling, you are provided with a large binder of information and reference material for the course that supplements the weekly presentations from Cornell University faculty, Cooperative Extension staff, and local experts on a wide range of horticultural topics. The topics include: Basic Botany, Entomology, Soils, Home Lawn Care, Vegetable and Fruit Gardening, Composting, Organic Gardening, among others. Local regional training is held in Ballston Spa (saratoga County) on Mondays from late January to mid April. » Continue Reading.
Next weekend (December 17th-19th) world class bobsled and skeleton racing will return to Lake Placid for the FIBT World Cup Bobsled/Skeleton Lake Placid.
The event is the final event in the North American portion of races; the previous North American races have been in Whisler, Canada; Calgary, Canada; and Park City, Utah.
The competition will start with men’s and women’s skeleton events on Friday, followed by Saturday’s two-man and women’s bobsled event. The four-man bobsled event is scheduled for Sunday. This year’s World Cup event is not the only World Class Bobsled and Skeleton competition coming up; Lake Placid was recently awarded the 2012 World Championships. Although the event was expected to return in 2013, it was moved to one year earlier because of travel considerations; originally the 2012 World Championships were to be held in St Moritz, Switzerland.
But since the team will be in Sochi Russia training during the 2013 season, it is easier to travel from Russia to Switzerland than to Lake Placid. So the years were switched, and Lake Placid will be hosting the World Championships in 2012.
One of the most memorable moments in the last Lake Placid World Championship in 2009 was when US pilot Steve Holcomb led his four-man bobsled team to the first United States four-man title since 1959. Lake Placid has hosted world-level bobsled and skeleton racing since 1949, when it held the first World Championships outside of Europe. Lake Placid will also be hosting more World Cup events in 2013 and 2014.
For more information about the FIBT World Cup Bobsled/Skeleton Lake Placid visit http://www.whiteface.com/events/bobskel.php.]
Like many of the winter resorts in the area that offer season passes for skiers and snowboarders, The Wild Center (a regular sponsor of the Adirondack Almanack) is unveiling a new Winter Season Pass for residents and frequent visitors to the Adirondacks.
With something happening every weekend during the winter months, the season pass is valid for unlimited visits from January until Memorial Day weekend. The Center is open throughout the winter on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm and during the entire week of President’s Day. The passes are available at a special online price at The Wild Center’s website for $29.95 for an individual and $55.95 for a family. Pass holders can also take advantage of regular special sale discounts at the Center’s store.
Activities during Wild Winter Weekends will include tracking workshops, nature walks with Peter O’Shea, bird encounters, an in-depth discussion about the Return of the Wild exhibition and the popular Otter Birthday Party.
Every Sunday is Family Art and Nature Day where you can learn more about the Adirondacks and participate in nature-related art projects that the entire family can enjoy.
Visit www.wildcenter.org for detailed information on the Calendar of Events. The new Winter Season Pass covers unlimited admission to The Center for ALL of these activities as well as otter encounters, feature films, screenings of the BBC ‘Life’ series and the free use of snowshoes for exploring the trails.
“We want to offer something to people who would like to use The Center in the winter for family days or to come to all of the lectures and special events, and make it easy,” said Jen Kretser, Director of Programs. “An individual or family only needs to come twice during the winter to have the pass pay for itself. With something happening every weekend, it really is one of the best values in the Park all winter.”
Please visit www.wildcenter.org/pass to purchase your Winter Season Pass at the online price today. The Winter Season Pass is also available for purchase at The Wild Center, for $38 for an individual and $65 for a family. The Wild Center is closed during the month of April.
For the 2010 holiday season the Chapman Historical Museum’s historic DeLong House will be decorated to reflect the Christmas customs of the 1880s. Throughout the house visitors will find ribbons and flowers not only in the familiar red associated with the holiday, but also in burgundy, mauve and white – colors used in homes one hundred thirty years ago. The house also will feature centerpieces reproduced from period illustrations, hand-made velveteen tree ornaments and snowflakes cut from patterns of the time.
Tours will explore changes in the customs of Christmas from the 1850s to the mid 20th century. Included will be information about popular music, literature, children’s toys and even how our vision of Santa Claus changed over the decades from the first illustrated version of “The Night before Christmas” to the 1930s. A display of early 20th century postcards will provide visitors with a delightful glimpse at the variety of holiday greetings people could send to each other one hundred years ago. The holiday display will be open through January 2, 2011. Public hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, Sunday, noon – 4 pm. The museum will be closed on December 24 & 25 and January 1. Admission is free. Donations are welcome. For more info call (518) 793-2826.
The Franklin County Historical and Museum Society invites the community to its annual Christmas Tea and Open House on Saturday, December 4, 2010 from 12:00-4:00pm at the House of History Museum, 51 Milwaukee St., Malone. The museum will be decorated for the holiday and visitors will be treated to formal tea service, including delicacies, hot tea, cofee, and cider.
Tours of the museum will be available, as well as a gift raffle of items from local businesses. The gift shop will be open, with its wide selection of local history books that makes Christmas shopping easy for the history buff on your list. There is no cost to attend the tea and open house. For your convenience, membership dues for 2011 are welcome and will be accepted. The Franklin County Historical and Museum Society, founded in 1903, is a membership organization dedicated to collecting, exhibiting and preserving the history of Franklin County, NY. The House of History museum is housed in an 1864 Italianate style building, most recently the home of the F. Roy and Elizabeth Crooks Kirk family. A museum since 1973, the House of History is home to the headquarters of the Franklin County Historical & Museum Society and its historic collections pertaining to the history of Franklin County. The recently renovated carriage house behind the museum is the beautiful Schryer Center for Historical & Genealogical Research, which opened in 2006. The Schryer Center contains archival materials and a library of family history information and is open to the public. FCHMS is supported by its members and donors and the generous support of Franklin County.
The House of History is open for tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-4pm through December 31, 2010; admission is $5/adults, $3/seniors, $2/children, and free for members. The Schryer Center for Historical & Genealogical Research is open for research Wednesday-Friday from 1-4pm October 13-May 1, weather permitting. The fee to use the research library is $10/day and free to members.
Information about Franklin County History, the collections of the museum and links to interesting historical information can be found at the Historical Society’s website.
Contact the Historical Society with questions at 518-483-2750 or [email protected] Photo: Volunteer Pennie Sansone pours tea at the formal tea table at the Franklin County Historical & Museum Society’s annual Christmas Tea and Open House
In farm fields, artisan workshops, private homes, and brothels then; in fields and orchards, restaurants, factories, private homes and sex-oriented businesses, now—American and foreign-born women, men and children are trafficked and enslaved across New York State.
As the Syracuse Post Standard recently reported, it is as close as the New York State Fair held every summer. According to the Post Standard, a restaurant vendor from Queens was charged earlier this month with allegedly trafficking workers from Mexico to work at the Fair, mistreating and barely paying them, if at all.
“We have both the past and the present to reckon with,” said Martha Swan, Director of the freedom education project John Brown Lives! “Although largely erased from official history and collective memory, New York “promoted, prolonged and profited from” slavery from the 1620s through the 1850s. It continues today, often hidden in plain sight. “We have organized a two-day Anti-Slavery Convention to put slavery “on the map” as a reality not solely of the South but of New York; and not as a relic but a legacy and crime against humanity still with us today.”
The Convention will be held in Lake Placid, NY, on December 3-4, 2010 and will feature experts on contemporary slavery and human trafficking, scholars, historians, victims advocates, lawyers, artists, and musicians joining with the general public to examine slavery and trafficking in New York State and ways to end it.
The Convention will include a full-day workshop for educators, teaching artists, and librarians at Heaven Hill Farm on Friday, December 3. Advance registration and a $55 fee are required. Call 518-962-4758 to register.
Later that evening at Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Dr. J.W. Wiley from SUNY Plattsburgh’s Center for Diversity, Pluralism & Inclusion will show film clips and lead a lively conversation on how film has shaped American’s perceptions of slavery and race. The event, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., is free and open to the public. From 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 4, the Convention will continue at High Peaks Resort on Main Street in Lake Placid with keynote addresses and panel discussions ranging from historical slavery in New York State to up-to-the-minute reports and analysis on slavery and trafficking today.
Dr. Thomas Hopkins, descendent of Harpers Ferry Raider John A. Copeland, will help bring the Convention to a close with a candlelight wreath-laying ceremony at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site at 5:00 p.m..
Partners in the Convention with John Brown Lives! are John Brown Coming Home, the National Abolition Hall of Fame, SUNY Plattsburgh’s Center for Diversity, Pluralism & Inclusion, and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust.
The Anti-Slavery Convention is funded, in part, with support from the New York Council for the Humanities. For more information or a full schedule of events, call 518-962-4758 or go to www.johnbrowncominghome.org.
Producing 20,000 chickens for the North Country marketplace is the topic of discussion for a 7 pm, Thursday, December 2nd information and organizing meeting developed by Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County. The meeting will be held at the Extension Learning Farm in Canton, NY, and telecast to the Cornell Cooperative Extension offices in Watertown and Plattsburgh.
The three meeting sites are expected to draw people interested in sharing ideas about opportunities for the regional production, processing, and sales of chicken. » Continue Reading.
Looking for something to do after the turkey is eaten and guests are still visiting? On Friday, November 26th, The Wild Center will host a special Family Friday. The day will include live music, a talk and book signing by local author Caperton Tissot, seasonal goodies from The Waterside Café, arts and crafts for kids, a discount at The Wild Supply Co. (the museum’s gift shop), free gift wrapping, nature walks and live animal encounters.
From 10:30 am until 1:00 pm The Rustic Riders, a Saranac Lake-based acoustic group, will play original music with traditional roots in the Great Hall. Local author, Caperton Tissot will talk about her new book Adirondack Ice: a Cultural and Natural History at 1:00 pm in the Flammer Theater. Ice has determined the course of Adirondack history in many surprising ways. This book traces the evolution of that influence, touching on everything from ice industries and transportation to recreation and accidents. In 360 pages of personal stories, observations and over 200 historic and contemporary photos, she pays tribute to a fast disappearing era. A book signing will follow.
The Great Hall will be filled with music by Adirondack musician Jamie Savage from 2:30 pm until 4:00 pm.
All programs are free for members or with paid admission.
The Adirondack Winter Season is a traditional time of celebration and fun-in-the-snow. While others are shivering and groaning about shoveling driveways, Adirondackers and their visitors are enjoying hundreds of miles of cross-country ski trails, full moon ski parties and a variety of winter festivals.
The 2010-2011 winter season is just weeks away, and towns and villages throughout the Adirondacks will soon be hanging lights, grooming ski trails and looking forward to fireworks, parades and the annual winter festivals. VisitAdirondacks.com offers a guide to Adirondack winter events. February 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the Lake George Winter Carnival and this year’s month-long celebration features racer Glenn Brittian’s attempt to break the record for the fastest speed on ice in a rocket sled. The record is 253mph, and Glenn will attempt to reach a speed of 300 mph to break the record on February 20th. Every weekend in February holds a carnival highlight, including the Polar Bear Plunge where more than 800 swimmers jump into the chilly waters of Lake George, outhouse races, a historical encampment of the 1700s, cook-off competitions, a Mardi Gras parade and fireworks. Check out LakeGeorgeWinterCarnival.com for a complete schedule of events.
Saranac Lake will host it’s Winter Carnival on February 4-13, 2011. Hundreds of revelers are expected to celebrate the 114th anniversary of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. As the longest running event of its kind in the eastern U.S., visitors and residents both look forward to the annual Gala Parade on Saturday, February 12th, the Ladies’ Fry Pan Toss, ski races at Mount Pisgah and the lighting of the Ice Palace.
Additional Adirondack winter events:
Adirondack Holiday Stroll in Speculator, November 26. Holiday shopping specials and promotions.
Holiday Village Stroll in Lake Placid, December 10-12. Children’s activities, free skating, holiday movies, craft workshops, holiday performances, special promotions in stores and restaurants.
Great Adirondack Snow Dance in Speculator, December 4. Dance at dusk, dinner, fireworks, live entertainment and children’s activities.
Annual Winter Carnival in Long Lake, January 15, 2011. Sports contests with cash prizes, free ice-skating and sledding.
Frozen Fire & Lights in Inlet, February 19, 2011. Bonfire and fireworks, free sledding, ice-skating and cross-country skiing, treats and cocoa.
Winter Carnival in Raquette Lake, February 19, 2011. Ladies’ fry pan toss, men’s golf drive, tug of war, bonfire and fireworks.
Photo: “Oxygen” just before reaching 247.93 mph (to break the record at that time) at the Lake George Winter Carnival on Lake George on February 15, 1981. The event was lined with thousands of people spread along on both sides of the 2300′ long course. Photo Courtesy Venture Enterprises.
Saranac Lake photographer Mark Kurtz will be marking the 10th anniversary of opening his gallery on 36 Broadway in downtown Saranac Lake on Friday with a celebration (5:30 to 8 pm) and a weekend long open house next weekend, November 20th and 21st.
Ten years ago this fall Kurtz opened his gallery after three years with the Adirondack Artists Guild. “That gave me the courage to try something on my own, Kurtz says, noting that he wasn’t sure what to expect from his new space, which also houses his commercial photography business. Since he first entered a darkroom in the eighth grade, Kurtz has been honing his craft, largely in black and white. His gallery boasts hundreds of hand-made prints. Kurtz was a founding member of the Adirondack Artist’s Guild, and is widely recognized as one of the Adirondack region’s preeminent photographers. He is a regular contributing photographer to Adirondack Life magazine and his work has been featured in Skiing magazine. Kurtz will be showing some new things at his gallery for his tenth anniversary – color for one. Along with his black and white, and sepia work he has also expanded his offerings to include digital prints. “No, I have not gone completely digital” Kurtz said emphatically, “I will never give up the traditional process of shooting with film and working in the darkroom. But the quality of digital has progressed to a level that I can now offer my images as digital prints and at a lower price than the labor intensive silver print process.”
Hours for next weekend’s open house will be Saturday, 10 to 7, and Sunday 10 to 4.
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