LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With two days of highs this week set to hit 60 degrees, the Lake George Winter Carnival is having a hard time getting any events on the ice. The problem is that, at this point, there barely is any ice at all.
For the four-weekend carnival, that means nixing the sanctioned car races that were originally set to hit the lake last weekend, and the motorcycle races set for the upcoming third. The wafer-thin sheet of ice visible on Lake George this week doesn’t concern event organizers, though – they’ve been planning around wobblier winters for years.
“The numbers are still up there,” said Lake George Winter Carnival organizer Nancy Nichols. “People are still really excited about walking around in springlike conditions. What we have made sure of is that nothing is ice-dependent except for the races.”
It’s been about 8 years since the carnival began putting more emphasis on off-ice events, as well as those that could go either way depending on circumstances. One particularly bad winter left the lake sans any ice whatsoever, and ever since, the carnival has featured more events like mini golf and tye dye, which can be enjoyed regardless of the temperature.
This weekend – Feb. 18-19 – the carnival has plenty going on to make up for the lack of bikes on ice. In their absence, the carnival is promoting the return of its signature outhouse races, where contestants turn outhouses into fully-functional sleds and race for $2,000 in prizes. This Saturday, Battlefield Park will be the home of a second round of races – with a wide swath of space that organizers are confident will work, regardless of how much or little snow is on the ground.
On Sunday, the carnival’s “Glacier Golf” event doesn’t need any actual glaciers to stay in action. A six-hole course will be set to next to the lake at Shepard Park. Teams of 2-4 people will compete for gift certificates to The Sagamore, Cronin’s Golf Resort and more.
“We felt bad having to back down from the motorcycle and car races this weekend,” Nichols said. “The forecast for this week – I keep praying it’s wrong, but I don’t think it is.”
The carnival’s final weekend, Feb. 25-26, doesn’t feature anything ice-dependant to be canceled. Meanwhile, events like weekly cookoffs, kids tye-dye and other connected events at local businesses have gone off without a hitch. Attendance tracking is an ongoing process, but one point of reference shows just how unseasonable Lake George is: Nichols said that she saw at least 70 people go in for a swim last weekend.