(All photos courtesy Lake George Winter Carnival, some by Josh
Beeles, as noted on face of photo.)
Many summer visitors to the Adirondacks' Lake George area look
around during the summer festivities, and then ask natives, "So
what do you do around here in the winter? Hibernate?"
Lake George residents would answer, "Not a chance!"
Their summer hospitality just puts on its winter woolies and
shows visitors how hardy mountain folks enjoy winter. Volunteers
work all year planning the Lake George Winter Carnival, this
year celebrating its 55th year. Every weekend during
the month of February, visitors to the region will find myriad
outdoor winter activities to engage and entertain them. Some
come as spectators, while others jump right in – both
figuratively and literally. "Jumping in" might involve hurling
your normally sane self into the frigid waters of Lake George,
or racing a snowmobile headlong across the ice, building up
enough speed to leap across an open patch of water…or not!
Swimmers dash into the icy waters of Lake George during the
annual Winter Carnival
He's got his hat to keep him warm. (Josh Beeles photo)
Others prefer participating in the annual outhouse race. Say
race organizers, "Yup, you guessed it. It is exactly what it
sounds like. Local teams work diligently to build their most
creative, hilarious, and aerodynamic outhouse. Teams compete
against each other in a fun race for the fastest outhouse team."
Speed is good, but, for some, the outhouse race is all about
Sled dogs traverse Lake George, with Steamboat moored in
Weather permitting, a large number of the Lake George Winter
Carnival activities are held on the ice, including sanctioned
motorcycle, car and ATV races, and dogsled races and rides, as
well as the ice diving
Asked what happens if the lake is not frozen in February,
decades-long volunteer Lou Tokos said, barely skipping a beat,
"We just move the activities up onto land!" The committee does
its best to hold every event, weather and ice permitting.
Motorcycles race on Lake George's frozen surface, giving new
meaning to to the expression "breakneck speed." (Josh Beeles
Those with a taste for food events will not be disappointed, as
the extremely popular cook-offs are featured all four weekends
of the carnival. On February 7-8, you'll find vendors competing
for the best chili. On February 14-15 barbecue takes center
stage, to be followed the next week by a chowder cook-off, and
finally a chicken wing competition. And there's even a
restaurant competition. For the less sophisticated foodie,
toasting marshmallows to make s'mores by a lakeside bonfire is a
Visitors warm themselves by a toasty fire, sometimes making
s'mores as they await the fireworks display.
Chainsaw artisan poses with his creations in front of an ice palace.
Some events and activities are held every weekend of the
carnival, including fireworks displays over the lake, helicopter
rides, ATV-drawn wagon rides, Lake George Dog's Got Talent Show,
ice carving, wood carving,
the Wish Lantern Fly-Off, Pony rides and numerous kids'
activities and a youth hockey scrimmage.
There's fun for every member of the family at the carnival, so
bundle up the kids and find the Lake George Winter Carnival
about one hour north of Albany, NY, via Adirondack Northway
(I-87), exits 20, 21 and 22. We suggest you reserve lodging in
advance, using your favorite search engine or checking out
updated carnival information see