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Unsanctioned car cruise causes 'mayhem' in Lake George
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Unsanctioned car cruise causes 'mayhem' in Lake George

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LAKE GEORGE — “Mayhem” is how Lake George village Mayor Robert Blais described an unsanctioned car cruise held this past weekend, in which vehicles left skid marks up and down Canada Street and damaged a fence in front of an arcade.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office closed Canada Street from one end of the village to the other on Saturday night to control the situation.

This past weekend was supposed to be the Adirondack Nationals Car Show, but it was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many vehicles showed up anyway and caused problems, according to Blais.

“People came here and I think took advantage of the fact that nothing was structured. We had a lot of problems on the street with burnouts and cars doing wheelies and all sorts of things — anything you can think of to break the motor vehicle law,” he said.

Problems included loud mufflers, speeding and even reckless driving, according to Blais. Some cars came close to hitting pedestrians.

“People just running their vehicles up and down Lake George performing for all the people that came here,” he said.

A car even took down part of a fence in front of Funa’rama Fun Park and nearly ended up in the park’s pool, according to Blais.

Blais said village crews had to help scrape some of the rubber off the road because it had been made unsafe for travel.

Some of the village’s streetside benches, flowers and Adirondack chairs were damaged, too.

Blais said the drivers were cheered on by large crowds of people on the side of the road who were not wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

He said he had not seen anything like this since the near riots in the past.

In 1992, more than 100 officers were needed to quell an unruly crowd that threw rocks and bottles at police officers who tried to break up an impromptu drag-racing show, according to Post-Star archives.

“It was extremely discouraging for anybody that worked so hard to make Lake George village a family resort,” he said.

He said he heard anecdotally about a family of five with young children who decided to come to Lake George for the weekend. They checked in Friday night and checked out on Saturday because of the unsanctioned car cruise.

Blais said village officials will be meeting later this week with Warren County Sheriff Jim LaFarr and members of Albany Rods & Kustoms, which organizes the Adirondack Nationals Car Show, to discuss where to go from here.

“They’re as concerned as we are about what happened. They want to work with us. And go back next year and do a safe event,” he said.

Blais said the village had talked about doing a concert in the street for this year’s Adirondack Nationals event, but the car show was canceled.

“We thought that might stop this unlawfulness,” he said.

LaFarr did not return a message seeking comment.

No one returned a Post-Star phone message and Facebook message left for Albany Rods & Kustoms.

Blais said he has already gotten nasty emails from people saying that the village was infringing on people’s right to cruise.

He said this was not a cruise, but mayhem.

“This is not what Lake George is and this is not what it’s going to be under my watch,” he said.

Reach Michael Goot at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

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