LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – When organizer Christian Dutcher first started putting together Lake George Winterfest, he was hoping to sell around 1,000 wristbands.
The Monday after its final weekend, he laughed over the phone as he confirmed they had made it past 2,000.
The festival took the four February weekends usually taken up by the Lake George Winter Carnival, which was canceled this year due to crowd concerns tied to COVID-19. Instead of gathering in large groups, visitors could buy wristbands getting them discounts at hotels and restaurants, and access to winter activities like snowmobiling and horse-drawn carriage rides.
The Lake George Holiday Inn served as a crossroads between it all, between its hotel – which saw around 80 percent capacity – and its resident TR’s Restaurant, as well as a snowmobile trail out back.
Hotel manager Jennifer Vidnansky said the visiting traffic was about on par with what the Lake George Winter Carnival would typically bring, but that this year, more first-time visitors were coming through the village than she would usually see.
Dutcher agreed, and said that was likely due to how ready many were to get out of their normal areas after months spent cooped up. Next, he’ll be sending out surveys to wristband holders to find out exactly how true that is.