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LAKE GEORGE — For tourists used to summer crowds, Lake George was a different place Sunday.

It was blanketed in snow. Familiar landmarks were hard to see. It was possible to walk for just a few minutes out onto the ice and feel completely alone.

Many visitors, who came for the village’s Winter Carnival, had never seen the lake like this.

“Gorgeous. It’s beautiful,” said Kimberly Leahey of Ballston Spa, who walked on the lake with her husband and their three children before the highlight event of the afternoon, keg tossing.

They walked so far they felt they were in the middle of the lake, too far to even see the village beach.

“It’s really quiet out there,” Leahey said, adding that she appreciated the lake in a whole new way after the experience.

Others came for the snow.

“It’s a great day,” said Tom Wagner of Altamont, who was pulling his five-year-old grandson on a sled.

Brayden Wagner, 5, had already enjoyed free make-your-own sundaes and was resting from that experience by catching snowflakes in his mouth as his grandfather pulled him along the lake.

“There’s no snow in Altamont. I promised him I’d find some snow,” Wagner said.

He was ready to watch the keg tossing, too, but not participate.

“Yeah, those days are over for me,” he said.

An empty keg weighs about 30 pounds, so children as young as 7 lined up for a chance to throw one. But some signed up without a clear idea of what they’d be asked to do — toss it to other people? Throw it while full?

“I’m hoping they’re empty,” said Jeff Goyette of Fulton, who came to the village for a surprise early Valentine’s Day trip. His girlfriend, Andreana Reed of Baldwinsville, knew about the carnival and hoped it would be as much fun as summertime antics on the lake. They were disappointed to find so many businesses closed, but enjoyed the lack of crowds and the carnival activities.

Reed signed up for the toss as well, but planned to duck if the idea was to toss a full keg to her.

Goyette, however, had no intention of chucking a 160-pound keg of beer at his girlfriend.

“I’ll just roll and kick them,” he said.

Luckily, the rules of the game did not involve bodily injury. Each player simply had to throw an empty keg as far as possible, with the winner getting a pitcher (of soda or beer, their choice) and wings.

To spice things up, a local resident offered commentary, shouting through a microphone as about 20 people tried their luck.

“Some knee action there! Did that hurt?” he demanded at one point, when a tosser nearly slipped.

He encouraged the children, but poked fun at the adults, especially those who were too serious as they practiced their throws.

“You got some lift out of that one!” he shouted. “Oh, that’s not the way to do it...whoops, that didn’t work!”

For many, though, it was just a few minutes of fun in a weekend filled with ridiculous tasks, from outhouse racing to outdoor cooking in a snowstorm.

“So, this is just our weekends of fun,” said Janet Dickey of Connecticut. “We always do it. We just love it up here.”

The carnival continues each weekend through Feb. 25.

Next weekend, there will be sno-cross races, car races, a barbeque cookoff and a snowman-building contest. At 9 a.m. Saturday, there will also be an ATV scavenger hunt, starting at Duffy’s Tavern. For a full schedule of each weekend’s events, go to www.lakegeorge.com/winter/carnival/.

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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