Let the Winter Carnival games begin

SARANAC LAKE — Winter Carnival is here, so get ready for a week full of fun runs, fry pan tosses, snowshoe races and plenty of other events.

Winter Carnival Committee representative Colleen O’Neill said this year’s celebration won’t have anything brand new in terms of events, but an old one was brought back after four years and another one was enhanced.

Icicle contest

Not entirely new, but a returning event is the largest icicle contest. The last one was held in 2016. The event this year is today at 11:30 a.m. at Riverside Park. It’s sponsored by the Heat Keepers, an insulation contractor.

“There are more chances to win and more amounts of prizes,” O’Neill said in a phone interview.

First place wins $300 worth of spray foaming by the Heat Keepers, plus a free home energy assessment with blower door and boiler testing provided also by the company — and, to help keep one warmer in the meantime, a Heat Keepers sweatshirt.

The second- and third-place prizes each include the home energy assessment with blower door and boiler testing, and the sweatshirt. The fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place prizes are Heat Keepers long-sleeve T-shirts.

Skate Lake Colby

Last year, John Dimon of Human Power Planet Earth bike shop started the Lake Colby ice skating races. This year, he’s introducing kick sled races to the event, too. The event is Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m.

“That was hugely popular last year,” O’Neill said. “It should be the same this year because more people are aware of it.”

Other events

Throughout the rest of the week, O’Neill said to expect fan favorites such as the ladies fry pan toss, fireworks shows, arctic golf, torchlight skiing, inner tube races and the Rotary Club variety show.

O’Neill said some of the more popular events are the curling exhibitions on Lake Flower.

“A lot of people, especially not from here, maybe have never heard of curling and really don’t know how it works, and people get very curious about it,” she said.


Last year’s Winter Carnival didn’t have the best weather. A February thaw and warm rain closed the palace for a few days, dinosaur ice sculptures were wrapped in tarps, and the “2” in the “2019” sculpture melted completely.

The weather forecasts predict below freezing temperatures and some snow showers throughout Carnival Week. O’Neill said she’s not worried about the weather this year.

“It’ll really take a lot for us to be worried about any weather,” she said. “Even if there are days when it’s in the high 30s, that’s still not going to impact us much. It seems like we have more than enough snow right now, and we’re still two weeks away. I think, if anything, we’ll probably get even more snow and be set for our events this year.”


This year’s theme is “Myths & Legends,” a concept you can take in a multitude of directions. There’s Greek mythology with gods, minitours and hydras. Then there are legends such as Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster and the Abominable Snowman. Heck, even Grammy-winning R&B artist John Legend would fit this theme.

“It’s a really broad spectrum in the way you can go completely mythological creatures or you can go with a local hero or personal legend that impacted Adirondack history,” O’Neill said. “Personally, I really love Greek mythology. I’m going to wear a Medusa costume, and I’m really excited about that.”

By Kerry Minor

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