11 (Eleven) Adirondack Winter Carnivals, Festivals and Celebrations

My family and I have attended most of the winter carnivals (listed below) in the Adirondack Park. Each one has its special charm and each celebration is an opportunity to enjoy the unique corners of the Adirondack Park. Enjoy Winter Carnivals in Saranac Lake, Long Lake, Northville Sacandaga, Lake George, Raquette Lake, Old Forge, Tupper Lake, Brant Lake, Indian Lake, Hague and Inlet. 

As other countries and Christian communities prepare for Lent with enough debauchery to shame a politician, the Adirondacks puts on all its finery to revel in activities only to be found in a winter wonderland.  Though not located in New Orleans, Venice or another warmer location, the Adirondacks version of Carnival utilities one popular winter asset, snow.  Like the world traditions of Mardi Gras and Carnival, an Adirondack Winter Carnival is not for the weak of heart. 

1) People attending this year's Saranac Lake Winter Carnival (February 6 - 15) can channel their hippy, GROOVY, 60s self. Though the carnival first started in 1897, Saranac Lake’s carnival has not been held continuously. With a convoluted history, this carnival has expanded and resurrected to be held annually since the winter of 1947. With over a century of experience to draw from the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is a ten-day festival of sports, races, parades, live performances and fireworks. Highlights include tubing races, outside movies, snow golf, classic films, and curling exhibition. The town also features a palace of ice that depicts each year’s annual motif. 

2) Long Lake's Ice Fest (February 6-7) brings back The Ice Farm's Stanley Kolonko as he travels on his way to the 23rd Crystal Garden International Ice Carving Exhibition in Ottawa, part of the second weekend of Winterlude. Watch the sculptures emerge at the Raquette Lake Library, Shamrock Motel and Cottages, The Long Lake Town Offices and more surprises along the way. 

3) Northville's Sacandaga Winter Carnival will be held February 7, 10 am - 4 pm. Enjoy a dog sled ride, ice skating on the lake, a vintage snowmobile show (over 50 classic sleds), Ol' Time Gospel group, food, turkey bowling, hot air balloon, model rocket demo and more! 

4) Lake George’s Winter Carnival has a different schedule. Instead of compacted into a 
The series of ongoing weekend events culminates the last weekend in February. Each weekend (February 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, and 28-March 1) has a slight variation of events but the core happenings are the same. Specific family-friendly activities are available like petting zoos, games, hot air balloon tether rides, dog sled rides, polar plunge, sky diving competitions and a giant ice slide at Shepard’s Park. Each weekend has its highlights such as outhouse races, chowder cook-off, car races, kite flying and of course, fireworks.

5) Raquette Lake has held itswinter carnival for over 50 years. This February 14-15 take part in the frying pan toss, snowshoe rally, snow dodge ball, ice golf or watch a chainsaw competition. The Saturday fireworks from the lake gesture in the winter celebration.  On Sunday, join in a guided  3.5-mile snowshoe around Sagamore Lake. Meet at the Great Camp Sagamore tour parking lot for the 1 pm start.

6) For anyone around  Old Forge February 13-15, their winter carnival is celebrating Valentine's Day weekend  with a bonfire, skating and Valentine's parade. The next day brings some competition in the form of snowshoe and cross-country ski races, cardboard sled races, torchlight skiing and some Daredevil Jumpers.  Bonfires, fireworks and community dances are just a brief overview of what to expect during this salute to love. 
7)The 30th annual Indian Lake Winterfest (February 13-15)  invites participants to Wild Wild West themed parade, cardboard sleds races, snow horseshoes, and Ski Hill Torch Run. This festival is a kick-off the 2nd annual Snocade (February 13-22), with snowmobile races, even for the younger kids labeled "kitty kats" ages  5-12 . In addition to the snowmobile races, there will be guided tours, comedy show, skating races, free movies and kids' crafts and a SnowCade Winter water rescue!

8) Hague Winter Weekend (February 13-15) is a smaller venue than it's neighbor to the south, with a Snow Queen pageant for young girls at the Hague Community Center, cross-country skiing at Roger's Rock Campground, a pancake breakfast, chili competition as well as games with the Silver Bay Association. On Sunday, February 15, anyone wishing to take a plunge, all proceeds on the Polar Bear Plunge benefit the Vermont Children's Hospital. 

9) Tupper Lake is offering its Fire and Ice Festival so as not conflict with other area Winter Carnivals and to keep the spirit of winter alive as long as possible. From February 21-22 join in with a round a ice golf, dog sled rides, a fire breather show, snowmobile poker run, snowman building contest and fireworks!

10) Brant Lake Winter Carnival (February 21) will held on the ice in front of Jimbo's Club on the Point. From 11 am - 8 pm participate in an icicle contest, sled pulling, broom ball tournament, snowmobile rides and more. Food and snacks will be served by Jimbo's Club as well as students from the North Warren Central School.  Outhouse races: $25/entry for a chance to win $1,000 cash prize! 

11) Inlet's Frozen Fire and Lights is one day,  sunrise to dark, event this February 28 with bonfires at Fern Park, cardboard sled races, race painting and fireworks at Arrowhead Park. There is also sledding, ice skating and more winter fun. 

There isn’t just one method to celebrate the wonders of the Adirondack winter. Now with all the different ways to celebrate winter, I just need to figure out a way to get a lot more snow.

© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™guidebooks have easy Adirondack family hikes, Adirondack swimming holes, Lake Placid Olympic activities, Adirondack trivia, Adirondack horseback rides, Adirondack snowshoe family trails and more. Look for the Adirondack family guidebook online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the next Adirondack Family Activities™ guide.