Were you at this year’s Winter Carnival parade in Saranac Lake? This annual tradition is much loved by people near and far from the community. The event made news recently due to some controversy, stemming from a monster truck with a Confederate flag painted on its hood. Also a group of marchers with signs speaking out about the conflict in Gaza raised concerns from some, who feel that politics shouldn’t have a place in a local parade.
Read more here and weigh in here: Do you think it’s OK to work political commentary into parades? Should the parade committee have paid closer attention and kept the truck out? What should be done going forward?
Satanic Worshippers performing graveyard dances under the light of the moon? Unsuspecting high school co-eds falling into freshly dug graves? Conjuring spirits with the help of a Ouija board? Ghostly visits from beyond the grave? Is Saranac Lake’s historic Murray House really haunted?
As Saranac Lake prepares to cut ice palace blocks for 2024’s upcoming “Creepy Carnival,” I thought folks might be interested in this 2023 lookback at 2023’s Saranac Lake Winter Carnival festivities. A photo journal essay captured on camera as my wife and I shared an enjoyable event filled winter’s day. We are never quite certain who or what we will encounter, when we spend time together in my heart’s hometown “JustRoman Around”.
Saranac Lake, NY– Visitors from around the world will travel to New York’s Adirondack Mountains from Feb. 2-11, 2024 to celebrate the annual Saranac Lake Winter Carnival with a ‘Creepy Carnival’ theme. They join in the revelry alongside local residents who have made it their family tradition for generations.
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is the longest-running event of its kind in the eastern U.S. dating to 1897. The Carnival began as a one-day event to break the monotony of the long Adirondack winter and has grown into a 10-day festival that includes an Ice Palace, sports, performances, two parades and three sets of spectacular fireworks.
Over the years, the Winter Carnival has retained the warmth, charm and camaraderie of a community celebration. The Carnival is organized by an all-volunteer group called the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee, or more formally, the Society for the preservation of Winter Carnival, Saranac Lake, Inc. It is a community-driven festival made possible by the efforts of many volunteers and sponsors. One of the longest-running traditions at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is the Winter Carnival button.The buttons are collected by residents and visitors every year, especially since “Doonesbury” creator and Saranac Lake native Garry Trudeau began designing the buttons in 1981. They can be purchased at various locations around Saranac Lake or by mail order. In 2012, Trudeau also began designing collectible posters as a fundraiser for the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee.» Continue Reading.
The 2023 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is underway with a wide array of events for the whole family planned through Sunday, February 12. The carnival theme this year is “Roman around Carnival.” The Winter Carnival has grown into a 10-day festival that includes sports, performances, two parades and three sets of fireworks. The Carnival, organized by an all-volunteer group called the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee, is a community-driven festival made possible by the efforts of several volunteers and sponsors.
Saranac Lake’s 2022 Winter Carnival was great fun.
A “Totally ‘80’s” trip down memory lane.
My wife Robin and I had already had great fun driving over together to enjoy Winter Carnival. We toured the Ice Palace, took a ride back to the future, posed for some photos (Well, mostly I did). I went “Butt Bobsledding.”
The Bobsled run was ice palace slick. It was clearly no mission for amateurs! I was undaunted. After a tailbone bruising start coming out of the gate, I quickly recovered, burned down through Shady and Zig-Zag like a Bat OuttaHell, set a new Butt Bobsledding land speed record, AND stuck the landing to bring home the gold.
Author’s Note: It’s almost that time! Saranac Lake’s Winter Carnival approaches (Feb 4th-13th). One of the highlights of winter. Their 2022 theme is “Totally ‘80’s”. Ice Palace Construction is underway. Winter Carnival Parade plans are being made. Carnival King & Queen & the carnival court will soon be announced. This year’s Winter Carnival buttons are for sale.
A few years back, as we quite often do, my wife Robin and I took a weekend day trip from our Watertown home up to Saranac Lake. We planned to see the Winter Carnival Ice Palace, then meet our son RJ and his then girlfriend Carrie for lunch. RJ was in his senior year at Paul Smith’s College. Carrie was a Junior. They are now both graduated and engaged to be married. Quite the Paul Smith’s alumni pair.
We visit Saranac Lake frequently. It’s where my father lies buried. It’s where I grew up. I still refer to our weekend excursions to Saranac Lake as trips “home.”
There’s no getting around winter. So you might as well get into it. Right? Enjoy a good book, binge-watch Netflix, savor warm drinks, and cozy up beside the wood stove or fireplace for hours with your music (and your sweetie).
But, being active and getting outside are vital for our health. And most northern New Yorkers will tell you that access to year-round outdoor recreation is a bonus; one of the blessings that comes with living here. We have the Adirondack Park, along with many other local and state parks, forests, waterways, recreation areas, and trail systems that make the region attractive and accessible to families and friends who enjoy getting outside together. Unless it’s dangerously cold, winter weather is no reason to stay indoors.
For kids, winter is the season of snowballs, snow forts, snowmen, snow sculptures, snow angels, sledding, tobogganing, tubing, ice skating, and fat (tire) biking. And for families and friends, there’s snowmobiling, downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking, winter camping, dog sledding, ice fishing, and winter carnivals.
If you live in northern New York, you live in the middle of, or at least near, some of the best outdoor recreation in the east. In fact, outdoor winter recreation is a rich part of the region’s heritage and a vitally powerful and sustainable economic engine that supports local businesses and contributes to healthy local communities.
So, put on your long johns, layer up (consider several high-quality, moisture-wicking layers), and grab a warm coat, hat, boots, perhaps a scarf, and a well-insulated pair of toasty gloves or mittens. Because, as I’ve heard it said, ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.’
This month, one block at a time, an ice palace emerged again on the shore of Lake Flower. If you had the chance to stop by, you may have felt its warm embrace.
The massive ice blocks of the palace remind me of the stone walls of Machu Picchu. Relying on a system of communal labor called mit’a, the Inca built enormous stone structures and highly engineered roads and bridges. Each citizen who could work was required to donate a number of days of their labor to cultivate crops and build public works. Historians of ancient Peru trace the ways the mit’a system forged a complex society. Working together, people developed friendships and bonds of reciprocity that served the common good throughout the year.
When Winter Carnival rolled around last year, my mom, sister, niece and nephew came to visit in Saranac Lake. We joined hundreds — thousands? — in watching fireworks down on Lake Flower, then inched our way toward the ice palace, flowing shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the crowd until we could cram into the ice-block structure’s passages.
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Gala Parade is set for Saturday, February 8th at 1 pm. The parade will take place at Broadway and Main Street from Ampersand Avenue to Lapan Highway. The procession is a crowd favorite and tradition of the Winter Carnival, featuring many creative floats, quirky performers, community members and more. » Continue Reading.
There is no time for the winter doldrums with the Saranac Lake’s Winter Carnival just around the corner. This festival of fun, January 31-February 9, is a must for Adirondack residents and visitors alike. First started in 1897, the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival history is as vast and varied as the community that has shaped it. Originally a one-day event, this celebration of winter has evolved to include an expansive ice palace and over 100 events and activities.
According to Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee Public Relations Chair Colleen O’Neill, the festival is a special time for everyone. The Carnival provides entertainment for visitors and locals alike and pulls the surrounding communities together. » Continue Reading.
“Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau has released his button design for the 2020 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival.
Using the Winter Carnival’s designated theme “Myths and Legends,” Trudeau’s illustration shows “Doonesbury” character Zonker as a knight riding a winged Unicorn and gazing at a sword. Trudeau, who was raised in Saranac Lake, has created the Winter Carnival button design since 1981 to benefit the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack is a public forum dedicated to promoting and discussing current events, history, arts, nature and outdoor recreation and other topics of interest to the Adirondacks and its communities
We publish commentary and opinion pieces from voluntary contributors, as well as news updates and event notices from area organizations. Contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The information, views and opinions expressed by these various authors are not necessarily those of the Adirondack Almanack or its publisher, the Adirondack Explorer.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to editor Melissa Hart.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.