LAKE GEORGE -- Organizers of the 51st annual Lake George Winter Carnival are grappling with an unfrozen lake, but that won’t put the event on hold — or stop it from possibly receiving some national media attention.
The water still rippled on Lake George Friday as an unseasonably warm winter has kept the water from freezing over for any extended period of time.
That means the four-weekend event, which has for years been held on the ice near Shepard Park Beach, will have to move inland. It will also cost the carnival a couple of events.
But organizers are adapting.
"We’re cool," said Carnival Committee Co-Chairwoman Nancy Nichols.
Opening weekend is set for Feb. 4 and 5, and participants will still see the regular opening ceremonies and parade down Canada Street on Saturday. The 12 p.m. opening ceremony is followed by the always popular outhouse races and chili cook-off, both at 12:30 p.m.
With no ice, the outhouse races have been moved to the parking lot at the Boardwalk Restaurant on Lower Amherst Street. The cook-off will be at Shepard Park Beach, the site where most of the otherwise ice-centered events will be held.
Nichols said she’s especially excited about the addition of monster truck rides. The massive, V-8-powered behemoth will be giving passengers a thrill throughout February at the festival space at the former Gaslight Village.
Tethered hot air balloon rides will also be available at the Gaslight Village location.
Warren County supervisors questioned recently if it was appropriate, or legal, to allow the company that has been providing helicopter rides to use the festival space. The aircraft has, in recent years, been on the ice.
The warm winter and lack of landing space means the helicopter rides were eliminated from the program, Nichols said.
The lack of ice on Lake George doesn’t mean there won’t be an ice castle, though. Ice was delivered Thursday for the castle in Shepard Park.
But it’s the potential for the event to reach a national audience that has organizers especially excited.
Event organizers said production crews from the Discovery Channel and its sister networks were slated to cover the carnival’s opening weekend. Repeated calls to Discovery Communications LLC were unreturned on Thursday and Friday.
Sam Luciano, General Manager of the Fort William Henry Resort, confirmed that Discovery Communications, which produces programs for the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and the History Channel, has reserved seven rooms at the hotel.
"This area has so much to offer," Luciano said. "It would be nice to get some national coverage."
Fort William Henry donated the rooms to the Carnival Committee, which has to find housing for several of the event’s performers.
The film crew is expected to arrive on Thursday and record throughout the weekend.