LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It all started at Shepard Park. All through December, Christmas light displays over 20 strong have lit up the night there – some from the village, some from area businesses, and others supplied by Events to a T, the group that brought it all together to begin with.
As the park hosted special events like live comedy and a craft fair, the buildings across the street got in the spirit, too. Now, a Christmas Eve drive up or down Canada Street reveals that the Lake George Holiday Festival of Lights has extended far past just the park.
“Creative impulse is there, but it’s also a lot of work to get the stuff together,” said Robert Mastrantoni, owner of Lake George Olive Oil Co., one of the businesses located across from the park. “So it’s more about doing it just to make everything look pretty, and to capitalize on the holiday season.”
The porch in front of Lake George Olive Oil Co. is lit up with a stack of snowmen and holiday lights, which Mastrantoni was happy to put up when approached by Events to a T. He’s not the only one. Even some businesses that are closed for the season are helping keep the holidays bright in the village. Katie Long, owner of the Lake George America’s Best Inn & Suites near Lake George High School, had to work with her husband and an employee just to make sure they could even get electricity close enough out to the road.
“We’re just standing out there going, ‘Okay, now if we throw an extension cord from this end and run it up here, we can get lighting to this box and to that plant,'” Long described.
The result for the hotel is a Santa Claus and Rudolph who greet anyone passing by. Even then, getting them set up wasn’t the start and end of it.
“I’ve had people drive by and call me and say, ‘Hey, Rudolph’s head fell off again,'” Long said with a laugh. “And I’ll go, ‘Well, I’m on my way. Let’s not traumatize the children.'”
Long’s own child turned 3 years old this year, and is starting to understand the ideas of Santa Claus and Christmas. Long has enjoyed taking her son to see the lights, and said she’s heard friends and family speak fondly of driving through town to see snowflakes on the lamp posts, giant penguins at the town information center, and more. At the Lake George Steamboat Company, even the Minnie Ha-Ha has some strings of lights on as it takes its final voyages of the year.
Not everyone along Canada Street is taking part, but those who are have a lot to think about. Long said she and her husband have an inflatable Frosty the Snowman coming in the mail, too late for this year but just in time for next.
For some, taking part is a point of local pride.
“This was a choice, to put out these decorations,” said Mastrantoni. “And being part of the ones that did, you know you’re part of the success of the village.”
Christmas coming and going this weekend is only the start of winter in the village. Lake George has been pushing for years to become more than a summer-only tourist destination. WinterFest starts the Monday after Christmas, where visitors can buy wristbands that get them hotel discounts and special winter activities. In Charles R. Wood Park, Ice Castles is at work growing and forming thousands of icicles into a frozen attraction. In February, the Lake George Winter Carnival makes its grand return.