“It’s not a perfect day here for a winter carnival,” says Michael Consuelo, “but still, any day in Lake George is a beautiful day.” The Lake George Chamber of Commerce Director made these comments during opening ceremonies of the 55th Lake George Winter Carnival held yesterday in Shepard Park. The Carnival Committee modified the annual festival’s schedule when Mother Nature failed to bring the cold and snow necessary for on-ice activities, but that didn’t hamper the fun of opening day. “Instead of a snow party,” says Committee Co-Chair Nancy Nichols, “we’re having a beach party!”
This year’s Carnival is dedicated to long-time Carnival volunteer Mickey Onofrietto, who recently passed away. “Up until the very,very end,” says Nichols, “she was attending all the meetings, and she was a member up until the day she died.” This year, the Carnival has added a “For a Cause, just be’Cause” feature to bring awareness to various causes and recognize those in the community who offer support. This weekend’s focus is Veterans. Feb. 13-14 will honor cancer support organizations; women in need will be the focus Feb. 20-21 and the final Carnival weekend is titled “Be Aware for a Cause.”
Opening ceremonies were followed by the chili cook-off and outhouse races. The cook-off, held on the amphitheater stage, featured steaming pots of chili from 13 area restaurants. Carnival attendees sampled each and cast votes for their favorite. Duffy’s Tavern took home the first place ribbon, with Shepard’s Cove coming in second and Olde Log Inn taking third place. Next weekend’s cook-off will feature barbecue.
The outhouse races took on a new twist this year. Without ice and snow to skid the structures along a track, racers fitted their outhouses with wheels and ran an obstacle course through the Boardwalk Restaurant’s parking lot. Each team of five — two pushers, two pullers and one on the pot — had to weave through a course of traffic cones and pickup items (plunger, roll of toilet tissue, toilet brush and can of air freshener) along the way. Pit crews were busy between heats replacing wheels. Adirondack Studio’s TNT took first place in the double-elimination competition. Sans Souci came in second and Hall’s Boats took third.
The Carnival parade stepped off at 4 p.m. with a steady stream of fire engines, rescue vehicles, floats and costumed characters tossing candy and strings of beads to children along the way. Following the parade, attendees gathered on the beach to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Guitarist Dan Merchant performed on the Lakeside Walkway in front of a crackling bon fire.
The Lake George Winter Carnival continues today and each weekend throughout February. Ice-dependent activities, such as motorcycle and truck races, are on hold. Follow the Lake George Winter Carnival on Facebook for a full listing of activities and updates to the schedule.