SARANAC LAKE - After publishing a 2009 reprint of the Tupper Lake history book "Mostly Spruce and Hemlock," Hungry Bear Publishing owner and Tupper Lake native Andy Flynn decided he needed a new project.
"I had just started to volunteer for the Winter Carnival, and I thought, 'You know, maybe I can do something for Saranac Lake like I did something for Tupper,'" Flynn said.
So in January of 2010, Flynn announced his intention to publish a book about Saranac Lake's most popular event. Now, more than three-and-a-half years later, Flynn has fulfilled that promise with "Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories."
Andy Flynn talks with Pat Brown at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ice Palace in February 2012. Flynn collected 75 interviews for a new book, “Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories.”
(Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)
The book is scheduled to be released Thursday during the Art Walk. Flynn will host a book signing from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in front of Rice Furniture at 43 Main St.
"Winter Carnival Memories" is 440 pages and includes 75 interviews, more than 300 photos, history and essays from Flynn and others. It also includes a full timeline compiled by Saranac Lake historians and images of Winter Carnival buttons, including all those Saranac Lake's own Garry Trudeau designed from 1981 to 2013.
The book is told in the oral history tradition. The meat of it consists of interviews conducted by Flynn and his assistant, Jon Hochschartner. The interview chapters were conducted with a variety of people involved with the Carnival, including committee members, official photographer Mark Kurtz, past royalty and spectators, among others. The interviews are transcribed in their entirety.
"I felt it was important to tell the history of the Winter Carnival in the first person," Flynn said in a press release. "These are the voices of the people who have made the Winter Carnival what it is today, from organizers to residents and tourists."
Flynn uses 2012 and 2013 Winter Carnivals as examples of how this 10-day festival is operated.
The 10 chapters are: The Theme, Carnival Committee, Ice Palace, Royalty, Gala Parade, Other Events, Community Life, Some History, Mementos, and The Future. The chapter sponsors are the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Casualty Actuarial Services LLC, Blue Line Brewery, Lakeview Deli, Rice Furniture, Small Fortune Studio and Woody's Brats & Hots.
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival dates to 1897, when the Pontiac Club held a one-day festival. It now is a 10-day community-wide celebration with an Ice Palace, fireworks displays, sporting and cultural events and a well-attended parade. It is held in early February each year.
Flynn is the author of the six-volume "Adirondack Attic" book series and is currently the assistant managing editor for Denton Publications, where he also serves as editor of the weekly News Enterprise of North Creek. He is also a correspondent for North Country Public Radio and a member of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee. He lives in Saranac Lake with his wife, Dawn.
For more information on "Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories" and Flynn's other books, visit www.hungrybearpublishing.com or call Flynn at 518-891-5559. The book retails for $24.95.