LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – For years, the village of Lake George has aimed to be seen as more than a summertime tourist town. The Lake George Winter Carnival has pulled visitors while the water is frozen for 61 years, and Ice Castles has transformed Charles R. Wood Festival Commons since 2021. Lake George Winterfest runs through the season, offering discounts for those who enjoy the snowy season at the lake.
This week, a proposed project would turn a third location in the village into another winter destination. A presentation before Warren County this week proposes turning Fort William Henry into a high-tech winter wonderland.
On Tuesday, the Warren County Occupancy Tax Committee heard from Sara Mannix, of Mannix Marketing; Tom Lloyd, of Argyle-based Adirondack Studios; and Moment Factory, an international entertainment company that produces light shows and projected “experience” entertainment that transforms a physical space. Their plan for Fort William Henry: A fully immersive and interactive show of winter-themed lights and music.
“We know that we become part of the community when we have these experiences in a town,” said Bronwyn Averett of Moment Factory, tuning in via Zoom alongside colleagues Christian L’Heureux and Catherine Villeneuve. “It’s really important for us to seek inspiration from the site itself and from the place.”
The proposed attraction would separate Fort William Henry into five or six different installations, utilizing the central yard of the fort as well as its four bastions. Averett showed a list of influences generated by surveying Lake George and having conversations with locals, including “lights,” “snowy mountains,” “warmth” and “festivity,” among others.
The exhibits would include a projected forest, campfire, nighttime full moon, and “First Snow” laser show. The center would include a projection of a chalet, with “show mode” – featuring music played by silhouette characters – and “interactive mode” – where kids and adults are encouraged to throw snowballs at the projection in an interactive game.
Visitors would be able to wander between zones freely, revisiting as much as they like. Tickets would be priced at $24 on weekdays, with a higher tag on weekends.
The proposal is estimated to bring about $275,200 of new bed tax money to Warren County – helped along by its schedule. While the Lake George Winter Carnival lasts a month, and Ice Castles a number of weeks highly variable based on weather, this attraction would be able to run consistently from November to March.
Mannix and Lloyd have made a request of $3 million from Warren County to assist what is anticipated to be a $4.8 million project in total. Mannix said the project would be anticipated to generate as much as $8 million per year – more than enough to even things out.
“It’s not a lot of money, because we’re paying you back. The profits are going back. No other event except the other event we brought in (Lake George Winterfest) has paid you back. We’re the only group who keeps paying you back,” Mannix said.
The committee ultimately voted to support the project. Next, it’s headed to a June 30 finance committee meeting and full board meeting, at which point the minds behind Lake George’s possible next attraction would be called forward to make their pitch again.