Saranac Lake, New York is a beautiful location with a rich history. Part of that history includes an annual mid-winter festival during the first two weeks of February. The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival spans 10 days, and traces its beginnings all the way back to 1897 to a one-day Carnival.
For those who love cold weather activities, this event offers plenty to do. It’s the longest-running event of its type in the Eastern United State.
Winter Carnival Ice Palace
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival pays tribute to their heritage each year by erecting an ice palace made from ice blocks collected from Lake Flower’s Pontiac Bay. Two sets of fireworks are scheduled to be set off in the skies above the ice palace this coming winter. The construction of the ice palace starts with the marking off of an area on Lake Flower’s Pontiac Bay about six weeks before the carnival.
When the ice reaches the right thickness, workers make partial cuts in the ice with a huge circular saw blade which can cut to 11 inches deep. When it’s time to harvest the ice, hand saws finish the process creating blocks two feet wide and four feet long and as much as two feet thick! All this is accomplished by community volunteers.
Once the Ice Palace is completed it becomes the centerpiece for the Winter Carnival at Saranac Lake.
Winter Sports Activities
The Winter Carnival at Saranac Lake offers good old winter fun with traditional sporting events like:
- Nordic ski racing at the Dewey Mountain Cross-Country Ski Center
- Inner tube races
- Alpine ski races down the slopes of Mount Pisgah
- Skating races
- Hockey games at the Saranac Lake Civic Center
Untraditional Winter Sports
Along with the above, there are some fun winter sporting alternatives for people who love playing outside in cold weather. Events include things like the challenge of playing volleyball in snow that’s knee deep! Other activities include softball played while wearing snowshoes, Broomball, and more.
Other Winter Carnival Activities
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival has grown over the years, but still holds the original charm and sense of community. It’s a great destination event for people ready to have some good old fashioned winter fun in a community setting. Along with all the winter sports-related activities visitors will also enjoy opportunities to dance, attend performances, watch a couple of parades, or enjoy the fireworks. The 2013 Winter Carnival will be held February 1-10.
Photo credits: saranaclakewintercarnival.com