Posts Tagged ‘Lake George Winter Carnival’
For the past 57 years, the Lake George Winter Carnival has been a highly anticipated event throughout the Lake George region. Taking place each weekend in February, Lake George Village comes alive with reoccurring family-fun activities, special weekend events, as well as sanctioned snow-cross and car races. According to Lou Tokos, co-chairman of the winter carnival, mother nature has been good to them this year and the ice over Lake George is perfect.
“We had a few years with limited ice, but this year we have 11-12” of ice on the lake,” says Tokos. “This is the first weekend for the carnival and the big box event for this kick-off is the annual outhouse races. The races will take place right on Lake George, across from Shepard’s Park, which is the winter carnival headquarters. Our schedule of events is extensive.” » Continue Reading.
Just mentioning an outhouse race to my family and the potty humor starts pouring out. So before I go into a complete downward spiral, I’d like to say “only in the Adirondacks,” but that wouldn’t be true.
Across the nation there are numerous wheeled “soapbox derby” races with themed outhouses pushed by costumed racers pitted against their decorated neighbor. » Continue Reading.
Though my family and I have not attended the entire top ten winter carnival venues touted in National Geographic Traveler, I can say we have attended all the winter carnivals in the Adirondack Park listed below. Each festival holds its own special charm and each celebration is an opportunity to enjoy those unique corners of the Adirondack Park.
Saranac Lake may place second on the National Geographic Traveler’s list, but it tops the list for East Coast winter carnival fun. First held in 1897, the Saranac Lake’s winter carnival has a convoluted history. With over a century of experience to draw from, it has grown into a ten-day festival of sports, races, parades, live performances and fireworks. » Continue Reading.
February may have fewer days than any other month, but Lake George has made sure to pack it with as many activities as possible. This weekend kicks off the second weekend of a month-long celebration of winter at the Lake George Winter Carnival.
According to Lake George Winter Carnival Committee Volunteer Brenda Travis this is the 52nd year of the Carnival. She remembers coming to Lake George as a teen and looking forward to all the Winter Carnival events.
“Now I am helping to organize the activities,” says Travis. “The Carnival is so much fun and has so much going on. This weekend will be the Northeast Snow X series Carnival Cup. This is a new event. It is a snowmobile race with professionals going around a track and jumping moguls. Sometimes they can get up to 12 ft. in the air.” » Continue Reading.
With three bars of varying capacity contained in one building, the potential at King Neptune’s Pub and Nightclub was not best conveyed on this Saturday evening in February. Though our visit was during Winter Carnival in Lake George, given the winter conditions of 2012, it was not a typical Winter Carnival for any establishments in the village.
Neptune’s is generally closed all winter (December through March), but open for New Year’s Day and for four weeks during Winter Carnival. They have live music every Friday and Saturday whenever they are open, and this Saturday was no exception. They were readying the main bar for that night’s performance.
The middle bar, empty except for a lone musician hauling equipment in for the evening’s entertainment, is rather massive by general standards. The bar is situated in the center of the room, ready to accommodate a very large crowd. The glossy wood floor, polished slab bar, and pine walls lend a warm appeal to the large, open room. The few tables on the fringes of the room suggest the space is best left for standing and dancing while listening to the band. Its size is perhaps misleading, knowing all too well the potential of summer crowds to stuff the seemingly cavernous space and Neptune’s reputation for attracting those throngs with popular performers and an impressive lineup of over two dozen beers on tap.
Step down a few steps to the small, intimate pub nearly at the edge of the lake. The lower bar was open and a few early patrons were enjoying the warmth of the woodstove from the bar. With large windows throughout, the view would be exceptional in daylight at one of the tables along those windows. Outdoor seating off this lower bar overlooks the boardwalk and the lake, promising a great seat for people watching, sunning or enjoying the lake and mountain views. (You do have to use your imagination in Lake George in mid-February.) More outdoor seating on the main level takes you away from passersby, but boasts equally good views of the scenery.
The Crow’s Nest, a smaller bar on the upper level, is the third bar on site and features a rooftop deck. It is not open in the winter.
Like many who have spent years behind the bar, Mike, our acerbic bartender this evening, was at first somewhat brusque. As we explained our mission and began to probe his expertise, he became more forthcoming and informative.
Owned by Jim Quirk, King Neptune’s has been in business in Lake George for more than 40 years. They are open from 11 a.m. until midnight in the winter and until 2:30 a.m. on weekends in the summer. Happy Hour is from 4 to 6 p.m. daily. A lunch menu is available at Neptune’s with main dining at the Shoreline, its sister restaurant next door. The Shoreline features cruises with a band from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m.
We watched the Winter Carnival fireworks display from outside the bar as we prepared to leave. Though visible indoors at the bar, Pam preferred to capture the sound effects as well as the visual, while Kim couldn’t resist another failed attempt at hand-held photography of the display. The bitter lake wind, freezing our fingers and bringing tears to our eyes, soon drove us to the car. Perhaps both a lakeside evening of fireworks and a night at Neptune’s would be better enjoyed when it isn’t so chilly.
Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.
This February, local revelers and from those from around the world will take part in the Adirondack region’s Winter Carnival season. Events like the Ladies’ Fry Pan Toss, Polar Bear Plunges, Outhouse Races, Parades, and a Hot Air Balloon Fly-Off make these events not to be missed.
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is touted by National Geographic Traveler as one of the “Top 10 Winter Carnivals” in the world. For 115-years, this annual winter celebration has transformed the Village of Saranac Lake. On February 3, the carnival kicks off with a bang as the opening Fireworks signal the start of the 10-day festival. Enjoy fun for the whole family and special carnival events. Watch the Curlers toss stones, join in local ski races, toss a cast-iron pan, and snag a front row spot for the Gala Parade. Don’t miss a tour through the Carnival’s crowned jewel – the Ice Palace. Constructed from ice blocks quarried in nearby Lake Flower, the palace is the perfect place to watch the Carnival’s opening and closing fireworks.
Lake George Winter Carnival offers festivities throughout February. Every weekend, the village of Lake George heads outside to revel in the snow. Dive in during the Polar Bear Plunge, play ice golf, enjoy fireworks, a giant snow slide and ice castle. Take a ride in a hot air balloon and don’t miss the “Moon Glow” and “Fly Off,” where hot air balloons will rise into the wintry sky.
Old Forge Winter Carnival is slated for February 3 and 4 at McCauley Mountain. Enjoy a parade, music, bonfire, snowshoe and ski events, fireworks, a cardboard sled race, and more.
WinterXCape Winterfest in Lowville is slated for February 4. Enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides, dogsled rides, a petting zoo, geo-caching, cross-country skiing, a snowman contest, refreshments and more.
WinterFest in Indian Lake, slated for February 17-19, promises a jam-packed weekend of Adirondack events. Enjoy ski and snowboarding races, a craft fair, the annual snowmobile poker run and organized snowshoe outings.
Raquette Lake Winter Carnival kicks off February 18-19. Celebrate winter and enjoy winter sports events, a bonfire and fireworks in this idyllic Adirondack village.
Inlet’s Frozen Fire & Lights on February 25 offers a full day of family fun with free sledding, ice-skating, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Enjoy fireworks, a bonfire and complimentary refreshments.
Tri-Town Winterfest in the St. Lawrence River Valley kicks off the second weekend in February and lasts all week long. Enjoy outdoor concerts and theatrical shows, scrapbooking demos and workshops, a chili cook-off and the Polar Bear Golf Tournament.
By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
When the weather hits the negative digits and my kids are stuck inside for any length of time we, like so many other people living here, look forward to opportunities for getting outside. Though with winter storms, weather warning and family time spent shoveling snow, it may be difficult to remember all the reason why we love the snow.
Festivals, carnivals and celebrations of winter are here to remind us why we choose to visit, live and be a part of the snow. Plus a little competition never hurt anyone. Lake George, Old Forge and Saranac Lake are embracing their winter spirit and inviting people to step outside and enjoy the Adirondack weather.
The Coronation of Carnival Royalty kicks off the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival on February 4th.In its 114 year, Saranac Lake’s Winter Carnival’s 2011 theme is Medieval Times. People have been donning their costumes and preparing their serfs (in our case our children) to decide which of the over 80 events to attend.
On Saturday, February 5, watch fireworks over Lake Flower and the lighting of the Ice Palace. From February 4-13, the town of Saranac Lake turns into a medieval fortress of family-friendly activities from a carnival for kids, ski races to treasure hunt. The downtown parade on the 12th doesn’t even finish the array of activities. Sunday brings on cross-country ski races and opportunities to play volleyball or softball in the snow.
McCauley Mountain in Old Forge has a weekend packed with winter activity that will remind us why we love the snow. Twelve-dollar lift tickets at the mountain and a parade to celebrate the 10th Mountain Division and other military branches are reason enough to brave the cold and cheer on the troops. Spend some family time ice-skating at the outdoor Joy Tract Road rink or just relax and watch while sipping hot chocolate by the bonfire.
On Saturday, February 5, the Kiwanis Club of the Central Adirondack will sponsor their 11th Winter Sports Challenge benefiting the Old Forge Community Youth and Activity Center. These snowshoe and cross-country ski activities are held at McCauley Mountain.
Lastly, Lake George celebrates 50 years of Winter Carnival with a month packed with activities. Some weekend events such as face painting and petting zoo are reoccurring while other activities like kite flying, dog sled races and hot air balloon rides are just on specific weekends.
However you choose to celebrate winter, there are so many opportunities to get outside, meet new people and enjoy the Adirondacks.
Photo of the Saranac Lake 2011 Ice Palace content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George.
By the light of a full moon, Bob Heunemann pushed a broom across the ice to prepare a track for the speed skaters who would race on Lake George the next day.
As secretary of the Lake George Chamber of Commerce, such labors might have seemed to some to lie outside his job description. But the occasion was a special one. Lake George was to host its first winter carnival in more than thirty years, and the skaters would be among the best in the country.
The spirit that animated Bob Heunemann fifty years ago continues to this day. Through years of unpredictable weather, fickle sponsors and changes in leadership, the Lake George Winter Carnival has endured and grown. Whenever it appeared as though it might be canceled for lack of interest, someone has stepped forward to give it new life.
This year, the Lake George Winter Carnival will honor all those volunteers who have helped make the carnival a success over the past fifty years.
“The volunteers know that the winter carnival brings visitors to the area at a time of year when the lights wouldn’t be on otherwise,” said Lake George Village Mayor Bob Blais. “They also know that events like the Winter Carnival draw residents from their homes and provide opportunities to work as well as have some fun together, making ours a stronger community, one more unified and better able to address the challenges ahead.”
The salute to the volunteers will take place at the Carnival’s annual dinner, to be held at the Georgian on January 28. Music will be provided by Bobby Dick and the Sundowners.
The carnival itself will kick off on Feb. 5 with celebrations in Shepard Park and a Gold Anniversary parade down Canada Street.
This year’s Winter Carnival builds upon fifty years of events.
The speed skaters whom the Chamber brought to Lake George were the International Silver Skates, Olympic contenders and team members from the U.S. and Canada. But local skaters also participated. Winners included Joanne Stafford and Nancy Earl.
Prominently featured in 1963 were Jerri Farley and Howard Bissell, a figure skating act that, according to local papers, “has won plaudits throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia, where they gave a command performance for King Saud of Saudi Arabia.”
Carnival celebrity Charlie “Papa Bear” Albert’s predecessor was a veterinarian from Westport, NY, Dr. Robert Lopez. He was the founder and sole member of the Adirondack Polar Bear Club.
Harness racing was held under the auspices of the Lake George Horse Racing Association. Jack Arehart had reintroduced the event to the area in 1960, when he sponsored races on the Hudson near his Thousand Acres resort. But Lake George had a history of harness racing that dated back to 1915. By the 1930s, the village was a capital of the sport, with purses of sufficient size to attract racers from throughout the country. Hotels and restaurants capitalized on the events, but so did homeowners, who built barns to stable the horses. Some can still recall a horse named George Washington who collapsed and died on George Washington’s birthday.
We not only had a horse racing association, we had the Adirondack Ice Yachting Association. Comprised of six Yankee and three Skeeter class boats, they raced along the lake at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. A few of these still survive, and when the lake is sheeted in black ice, you can see them whipping across the lake.
The Polar Ice Cap Golf Tournament, so named by Albany Times-Union columnist Barney Fowler, made its debut in 1968. By its second year, when Mickey Sinto of Frontier Village defeated 150 competitors, the event was attracting national publicity. A few years later, Bill Dow drew international attention when he established a world’s record by driving a golf ball 865 yards down the lake.
In 1983, Gene Mundell designed a vehicle that could be attached to skis and propelled across the ice. That was the first outhouse race.
“The criteria was very specific; the vehicles had to be real outhouses,” recalled Nancy Nichols, whose restaurant, Mario’s, defeated Lanfear’s restaurant that year.
Over the years, new events have been created and some older ones retired.
This year’s Winter Carnival features a combination of both the old and the new. Events will be held every weekend in February in Shepard Park.
A complete schedule of Winter Carnival events is available online.
Photos: Yankee class Ice boats, speed skaters, hot rods, Bill Dow sets a record. Photos by Walt Grishkot
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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.
Bracket pairings were made by combining the top 28 randomly selected entrants from two lists (a longer list of general Adirondackiana, and a shorter list of 2009’s Adirondack headliners). Four more slots were reserved for last year’s final four, including 2009 Bracket champion Stewart’s Ice Cream Shops. The remaining slots will be filled later this week by a play-in round which sets four randomly selected entrants from a list suggested by our readers, against the Bracket judges’ “Hand o’ God” choices (our favorites that somehow missed the first cut). A preview of the play-in round follows the jump. . .
So here is how things stack up for this week’s play-in round:
Game one pits late 19th/early 20th Century painter Winslow Homer (who spent time throughout his career at the North Woods Club in Minerva—his last visit to the Adirondacks occurring one hundred years ago this summer, shortly before his death), against the frankenpine: that towering synthesis of artifice and nature, and itself a subject of contemporary Adirondack painting (not to mention inspiration for an excellent band).
Saranac Lake’s doyens of drill. . . the Idas of March. . . those angels of aluminum and mesh—the incomparable Lawnchair Ladies—sashay into the Bracket against an equally formidable lineup of local adirondack ski hills. This squad of impressive topography (talking about the ski hills, now), once thought to be heading downhill, fast, has made a strong comeback this winter led by Big Tupper and Hickory. The list also includes a couple cross country ski mountains, one of which boasts the only ski mountain palindrome in the Adirondacks: “O! Dewey. Aye, we do!” This match up could go either way, but one thing you can count on: Chairs will certainly be lifted, and might be thrown.
Game three features perhaps the most interesting play-in pairing, with Olmstedville’s Pete Hornbeck and his fleet of featherweight canoes taking on Lake George’s Winter Carnival, the village’s annual string of wintertime events held every weekend throughout the month of February. Any other year this would have been no contest as canoes are not much use on a solid lake surface, especially with a lot of cars and snow machines and dog sleds racing around. This year, however, warm weather forced cancellation of some carnival events, premature demolition of the ice palace and relocation of the dog sled races from the slushy lake top to safer ground inland. The Fund for Lake George reports that the lake failed to fully freeze over this winter (the first time since 2002). Though this might be an advantageous climate for a naval assault, Hornbeck will have his work cut out for him if he is to make it to a much anticipated confrontation with Senator Betty Little in the “Upstate Great Eight” round next week.
Join us later this week for play-in results and a preview of the first round.
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Support the Adirondack Almanack and the Adirondack Explorer all year long with a monthly gift that fits your budget.