With an unusual lack of snow and ice, the 2012 Lake George Winter Carnival was not one for the record books, but with Mother Nature cooperating this year, optimism has returned. Matt Hunter reports.
LAKE GEORGE, NY – "It was not too great as far as winter sports go,” said New Paltz resident Eric Dodd, who visited Lake George Tuesday morning. “It felt like it was kind of fall all winter."
An avid ice fisherman whose family owns a house on nearby Lake Luzerne, Dodd and his father didn't get to spend too much time fishing on Lake George last winter. This year, it's a different story.
"It's nice to be able to do something during the winter,” said Dodd, who fished on Lake George Tuesday afternoon after spending the morning on Lake Champlain. “It's a long winter if you don't get out and play in the snow a little bit."
With the ice already more than seven inches thick, the Dodds were two of many who setup camp Tuesday afternoon. It's a welcome sight to the organizers of the Lake George Winter Carnival, whose event relies heavily on Mother Nature.
"We're very excited. Mother Nature is definitely cooperating with us this year,” Winter Carnival Co-vice chairman Lou Tokos said. “It looks like we're going to have a full program this year."
Last year's warm and dry weather forced organizers to either cancel or move many of the events to land. In order to host the popular outhouse races opening weekend, they needed to bring in snow guns.
"There was a big difference last year,” said Lake George Village Mayor Robert Blais. “Without the snow last year, many places did not make it, some did not open, places that cater to the snowmobile traffic."
Even with temperatures expected to reach the low fifties on Wednesday before dipping back down, organizers say they're optimistic the abundance of snow and ice will result in big crowds and an even bigger boost for the local economy.
"Those hearty folks that stay in business all winter long, look forward to the Winter Carnival as really the way to make it through the winter," Blais said.
"It's a sight to see and we were actually just talking about coming up for one of the later weekends in February,” Dodd said. “There's lots of activities and sights to see, good energy."
The Lake George Winter Carnival kicks off Saturday at Noon at Shepherds Park. For a full schedule of events, visit www.lakegeorgewintercarnival.com.