LAKE GEORGE -- The Lake George Winter Carnival wrapped up on Sunday a season that overall was light on snow, ice and attendance.
Still, organizers and officials say they are proud of the efforts that went into making the four-week festival a reality, in spite of the weather.
"(Attendance) has definitely been down, but that’s because of the weather," event Co-Chairwoman Nancy Nichols said on Sunday. "But I think everybody pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and thought of new ideas."
Many of the scheduled events had to be either canceled, postponed or moved to a different location because of the lack of snow and ice cover on the lake.
But Nichols credited Lake George and Warren County officials for helping organizers get permits when needed to accommodate the carnival’s weather-related changes.
She called the carnival’s last weekend the quietest. There was quite a bit of activity on Saturday, which Nichols attributed to people being excited about snow on the ground. But by early Sunday afternoon it was mostly melted, and the lake water was rippling.
Most of the people strolling near the carnival’s headquarters at Shepard Park seemed to be reveling in the sun, rather than the snow. The Tubby Tubes slide, which had been a mainstay throughout this year’s carnival, was out of commission because of the conditions.
But there were some definite highlights to this year’s winter carnival, she said.
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More people than usual swam in the polar plunges — a fraternity from Union College is making it a tradition to attend the carnival to swim. She also pointed to the large parade, a monster truck event and a big crowd last weekend for the chowder cook-off as highlights.
"We just have to think positive. If we’re negative about it, it’s going to be an even longer winter," Nichols said. "So we don’t have ice activities — it’s still good to get out of the house."
Capital Region residents who attended the carnival for the day outnumbered overnight guests, which likely hurt local hotels, Nichols added.
According to Michael Consuelo, executive director of the Lake George Chamber of Commerce, Lake George hotels did good business for the third weekend of the carnival, which he attributed in part to the school break.
"Hopefully people can understand the circumstances and know that next year we’ll have some white stuff and a frozen lake," Consuelo said. "All things considered, they were able to prevail and keep it going."
Nichols said everyone tried to keep a positive attitude about this year’s carnival, and there are hopes for better weather next year.
"It’s happened to us in the past and that’s not to say it won’t happen again," Nichols said of the weather, recalling a time several years ago when there wasn’t enough ice on the lake to hold many of the usual activities. "We just hope it won’t."