The status of summer events
Events off before June; after that, most are tentatively still on
The event business brings in thousands of visitors and millions of dollars of direct spending to the Adirondack economy every year, with the busiest and most lucrative time being the summer months. Given the state’s current social distancing mandates amid the coronavirus pandemic, however, there are question marks all over the event schedule.
“We’re definitely going to have summer,” Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism CEO Jim McKenna said Wednesday. “We’ll have to follow the guidelines of the state, and that will probably be as much of a decision maker as anything as we move forward.”
As summer approaches, event coordinators are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation. For events in the earlier part of the summer, time is running out, and organizers are looking for alternative dates in late August and September.
Canceled events could have “a significant impact” on the local economy, according to McKenna.
Take the two Ironman Lake Placid triathlons as an example. Last summer, McKenna told the Lake Placid News that the 140.6-mile race in July and the 70.3-mile race in September bring in about $16 million of “direct spend” to the region: about $3 million for pre-race training (both races), almost $8 million for the July race and about $5 million for the September race.
Beyond the events, McKenna said current research shows that international travel will probably be down due to limited airline service. That means there may be more opportunities to draw American tourists to the Adirondacks.
“We are a rubber-tire destination, so to speak, so that even if travel is somewhat slowed down, we’re going to be positioned well for it throughout the summer and fall seasons,” he said.
Either way, this will most likely be a different kind of summer tourist season.
“We’re going to have to look at it in a new light, meaning that it’s not going to be the type of travel that we’ve seen in the past,” McKenna said. “We’re going to have to be more conscious of things (like) cleanliness … and looking at different types of itineraries for folks, looking at self-guided tours.”
Here is the current status of most of the Tri-Lakes area’s major events between now and mid-September.
¯ April 30 to May 7: Eat ADK Restaurant Week has been canceled this spring, although there is a chance it may be moved to fall for this year.
¯ May 1-2: Grounded, a new mud-season event the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce was organizing along with the Wild Center, Woods and Waters outdoor gear store and the Hotel Saranac, has been postponed until fall, according to chamber director Patrick Murphy.
¯ May 3-7: The Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp has been postponed until Aug. 31 to Sept. 4. This is the sixth year for the camp, and all 65 spots sold out quickly because it is the 40th anniversary year of the Miracle on Ice hockey game between the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team and the Soviet Union.
¯ May 9: This year’s Round the Mountain Canoe Race in Saranac Lake has been canceled, lead organizer Brian McDonnell said Thursday.
¯ May 31: The Lake Placid Community Day Picnic and Party has been postponed until a later date, possibly sometime in September. It’s important to hold the event after the traditionally busy summer months because it is designed for people who live, work or volunteer in the village of Lake Placid and town of North Elba, Community Day Committee Chairperson Valerie Abraham-Rogers said Wednesday. The adult and youth Distinguished Volunteer of the Year Awards are announced at Community Day. To nominate someone, fill out a nomination form at the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism website — www.roostadk.com — and return to Bethany Valenze by email at email@example.com. Call 518-621-3662 for more information.
¯ June 14: The Lake Placid Marathon and Half is still on the schedule, according to race owner Greg Borzilleri, who will meet with local officials on April 22 to determine the course of action for this year’s race. He is exploring alternative dates, possibly in July, in case it has to be postponed.
¯ June: The Warrior Run obstacle race at Raquette River Brewing in Tupper Lake may be either canceled or postponed until the fall.
¯ June 20: The Rotary Club of Lake Placid’s Dam Duck Race is “postponed indefinitely,” according to club co-President Mary Liz Alexander.
¯ June 23 to July 5: The Lake Placid Horse Shows are still scheduled. The Lake Placid Horse Show is set for June 23 to 28, and the I Love New York Horse Show is set for June 30 to July 5. “As all other local events, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation very closely,” said Lake Placid Horse Shows Executive Director Lori Martin. “If there is discussion of canceling the horse shows, we would need to make that decision by Memorial Day.”
¯ June 27: The Tinman Triathlon in Tupper Lake is still on for now. Organizer Wendy Peroza said she will change plans if needed and has considered a “virtual triathlon.” She has seen other events do virtual races but has not solidified what that might look like.
¯ June 28: The Celebrate Paddling Invitational canoe and kayak race in Saranac Lake is tentatively still on, lead organizer Brian McDonnell said Thursday. “Please stay tuned,” says the website of the Adirondack Watershed Alliance, McDonnell’s company that runs three annual Adirondack paddling races.
¯ June to August: All four Summit Lacrosse tournaments are still scheduled: High Peaks Summit Classic (June 27-28), Lake Placid Summit Youth Classic (June 29 to July 1), Northstar Invitational (July 27-30) and Lake Placid Summit Classic (Aug. 3-9), according to Ashley Gersuk Murphy, CEO of Summit Lacrosse Ventures LLC.
¯ June 30 to Aug. 11: The Songs at Mirror Lake concert series, Tuesday evenings in Lake Placid’s Mid’s Park, is still scheduled, according to Chairman Bill Billerman. Like other event coordinators, Billerman said he is monitoring the state’s social distancing mandates with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some acts have been booked, but not all. By this time, Billerman said he usually has most acts booked and is ready to roll out the schedule by the middle of May. “Not this year,” he said by phone Wednesday. “It’s so hard to predict. We might have to revise the dates.”
¯ July and August: The Music on the Green concert series, on Wednesday evenings in Saranac Lake’s Berkeley Green, is still planned, according to organizer Joe Dockery. “I do anticipate having to be flexible with our bookings as some groups may decide not to tour,” he said Thursday.
¯ July: The Saranac Lake StreetFest has been canceled for this year, according to organizer Shaun Kittle. The event made its debut last July in downtown Saranac Lake, and Kittle said it is expected to return in 2021. In addition to not wanting to risk a public gathering at this time, Kittle said fundraising was a factor. Organizers did not think it a good time to ask cash-strapped local businesses and municipalities to sponsor the event.
¯ July 3: Tupper Arts’ Summer Sunset concert series at the Tupper Lake bandshell is still on, tentatively. Tupper Arts President Susan Delehanty said, “It’s all going to depend on what the restrictions are at that time. We’re waiting like everybody else.”
¯ July 3-5: The I Love BBQ and Music Festival is still scheduled, according to organizer Dmitry Feld. “That will all depend on, of course, what New York state will tell me,” Feld said, adding that Plan B would be to move the festival to late August or Labor Day weekend.
¯ July 8 to Aug. 16: The Lake Placid Sinfonietta concert season is still scheduled. “If changes to the summer schedule become necessary we will post that information on our website, on the LPSinfonietta Facebook page and in the press by June 1,” Sinfonietta officials wrote in a letter to the editor.
¯ July 10-12: Tupper Lake Woodsmen’s Days is up in the air right now. Organizers said they know many other events up until that date have been canceled, and they are unsure if they will cancel, too.
¯ July 26 and Sept. 13: The Ironman Lake Placid and Ironman 70.3 Lake Placid are still scheduled, according to race director Greg Borzilleri.
¯ July 31 to Aug. 2: The Can-Am Rugby Tournament is still scheduled, according to Can-Am Rugby President Cameron Moody. “We’re hopeful that everything is going to get back to normal by then,” Moody said Wednesday.
¯ Aug. 17-22: The Adirondack Plein Air Festival, based in Saranac Lake, “is still tentatively scheduled,” organizer Sandra Hildreth said Thursday. “About 40 artists had registered for it, from as far away as California, before Covid-19 impacted our lives. It’s possible we could hold it without a physical Show & Sale and just have works available online.”
¯ Sept. 6: The Northern Current music festival in Saranac Lake is in “wait and see” mode, according to Jessica Collier, one of the organizers. They have put off seeking sponsors because of COVID’s impact on local businesses. Also, she said, “Bookings are definitely a little tough, and the festival might be a little smaller or more local than it normally would be — we would normally try to snag touring acts while they’re on tour near us, but since tours aren’t really being scheduled right now, that’s not really an option.”
¯ Sept. 11-13: The Adirondack Canoe Classic, aka the “90-Miler” canoe and kayak race, is tentatively still on, according to lead organizer Brian McDonnell. Registration will be pushed back from mid June to late June to give more time to change plans if necessary.