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‘Mask-erade’ will be Carnival theme

SARANAC LAKE — The Winter Carnival Committee met for the first time since March Tuesday night to discuss the upcoming Carnival, which will be held from February 5-14, 2021 — despite COVID-19. In light of the ongoing pandemic , they gave it the theme of “Mask-erade.”

The committee met at the Elks Lodge, with Jeff Branch presiding. The theme was chosen near-unanimously from among four options presented: “Masquerade,” “Video Games,” “Worldwide Carnival” and “Totally ’80s.” Those four themes were the finalists chosen in March from a field of 146 original ideas.

Before the vote, attendees discussed whether a COVID-19-related theme should be added to the options. The consensus was that the “Masquerade” theme could easily be adapted to include the pandemic, as masks were already part of the conceit. Tweaking the spelling was an idea quickly generated by those gathered. If masks are still required in February, the theme would allow for creative riffs on them; if they aren’t, then it could be a fully celebratory party.

“Let’s all hope and pray that come December, we’ll be able to relax some,” said Branch.

The agenda of the meeting also included the election of committee officers. After a quick discussion, committee President Branch was reelected, as were incumbent Secretary Nancy LaBombard and Treasurer Marty Rowley.

Six board members were then nominated — Milt Adams, Dean Baker, Elle Finocan, Cory Hoffman, Barb Martin and Rob Russell — to fill the four board spots. Branch then suggested that the board be increased to six, which made any further voting unnecessary.

“It’s not going to be a normal year,” said Branch of holding a Carnival during a global pandemic. “But we’ll be able to look back and say: If we did that, we can do anything.”

With the Carnival still five months away, it’s still too early to decide on the specifics of how it will operate.

“We’re going to do what we need to do to be safe and to have fun,” said Branch. “We don’t know what five months looks like. Right now it’s way too soon.”

With current New York restrictions of 25 people for indoor events and no specified number for outdoor events, Branch said that there will need to be a safe and socially distanced plan “for everything.”

With over $70,600 in the committee’s main account and about $3,500 in the Court account, according to Rowley, there’s enough to cover the next Carnival, which last year cost about $94,000 and brought in about $108,000.

“It’s not getting cheaper, that’s for sure,” said Branch.

The next committee meetings are scheduled for Oct. 13, Nov. 10, Dec. 1 and 15, every Tuesday in January, and Feb. 2. All meetings will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Elks Lodge at 30 Bloomingdale Ave., Saranac Lake.

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