New Winter Carnival poster shows Zonker in search of wildlife

SARANAC LAKE — It’s reminiscent of an old national parks poster. Zonker, a main character of the Doonesbury comic strip, explores the wilderness from a canoe, a ranger’s hat on his head and binoculars in hand.

Silhouettes of a bear, moose, hare, skunk and a flock of birds surround him. Snow-capped mountains and white pine trees rise in the background.

Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau’s poster for the 2017 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival shows was released Friday, illustrating the February event’s “Adirondack Wildlife” theme.

Trudeau, who was raised in Saranac Lake, has designed a button for every Winter Carnival since 1981. Sales of the buttons raise money for the annual event, and many people enjoy collecting the pins. In 2012, Trudeau started creating a poster each year as well, working with an inking assistant as well as a color and design person. They make the poster first and then extract a button design from it. Poster sales also help pay for Winter Carnival.

The button design has not yet been released.

“It’s going to be taken off the poster, but it’s going to be a little bit different,” said carnival volunteer Barb Martin, who is in charge of buttons. “You’re not going to see the bear in the background of the button. It’ll have Zonker and the moose.”

Eventually the buttons will be sold at various locations in and around Saranac Lake.

Trudeau signed 100 posters, which will be available to purchase beginning on Jan. 2. Signed posters cost $65 including tax. There is an additional cost for shipping if local pick-up is not possible. To buy a signed poster, contact carnival volunteer Jeff Dickson at or 518-891-4344. Those who have purchased signed posters in the past should contact Dickson beginning on Jan. 2 to continue the series. Unclaimed, numbered posters will be made available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact Dickson to be placed on the waiting list.

Unsigned posters are available at Ampersound (52 Main St.) and the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce (193 River St.) for $15 each, which includes tax. Some prior years’ unsigned posters are also available for $5 each.

As in the past, a raffle will be held for signed poster No. 1. Sales are limited to 100 raffle tickets at a cost of $5 each. Tickets are available from Dickson until Winter Carnival, which will take place Feb. 3 to 12.

The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee, formally known as the Society for Promotion of Winter Carnival, Saranac Lake Inc., is a nonprofit organization of volunteers dedicated to planning and presenting an annual midwinter festival. This 10-day, community-wide event traces its roots to a one-day Winter Carnival held in 1897 by the Pontiac Club. The Carnival honors its heritage every year by building an Ice Palace from blocks of ice harvested from Lake Flower’s Pontiac Bay, where carnival events have been traditionally held for generations. For more information, visit