LAKE PLACID - This village has visitors, events and plenty of committees to organize them, but it's missing something essential, according to Joe Lamb, owner of Lamb Lumber Company in Lake Placid and a member of the Federation of International Skiers.
"We need to rekindle that community spirit through a winter festival," he said at a village board meeting on Monday, "and bring back a tradition we had years ago."
The celebration would coincide with the World Championships for luge, bobsled and skeleton arriving in Lake Placid this February - a major event that will put many of the Olympic venues to work and, according to tourism officials, bring in plenty of spectators. However, Lamb said Lake Placid needs more than just a competition; he envisions the whole community taking an active role in hosting a winter festival with downtown activities spilling out onto the ice on Mirror Lake, including skating, curling, hockey, people enjoying food, beverages and evening fireworks.
Lamb said he plans to move quickly to raise $30,000, partly through his own networking and partly through the town and village. He said relying on the state Olympic Regional Development Authority and the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau isn't enough, but he said he does hope they help him spread the news. He said a community meeting to plan the event will be announced soon.
The village board expressed strong support of the idea and promised to give him an answer during the next board meeting on Jan. 5.
Lamb's roll as an international official has brought him to communities around the world, where he said he has learned from their embracing of world competitions. He said that after traveling this fall, he came back to Lake Placid with an empty feeling.
"Something is missing here," he said. "I think that we can find a way to create opportunities to enhance community involvement in these championships. This is a community for those that live here. We're going to have a lot of guests, and it's our time to shine."
Lamb said youth involvement would be central to the festival.
"One of the greatest things I see is artwork," he said. "I want to see our community plastered, so to speak, with all the different artwork from schools throughout the community, showing how these students depict the sport, our community and the world."
He said he wants successive generations to enjoy the rewards of Lake Placid's rich sporting traditions.
"What an advantage for our kids here to see different people and interact," Lamb said. "These are the experiences that enrich our lives and our children's lives, so hopefully I can build on this spirit and rekindle the flame of hosting the world."
Contact George Earl at 891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.