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Winter Carnival: Ice Palace, fireworks only

The highlight of Saranac Lake’s Winter Carnival is always the gala parade, which is held on the second Saturday of the event each February and draws annually draws thousands of spectators, just like it did a year ago in this photo. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there will be no parade when the 2021 event takes place in less than two months, and just about every other activity associated with the carnival has also been canceled. (Enterprise file photo — Lou Reuter)

SARANAC LAKE — The 2021 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival will be pared down to two fireworks shows.

The Ice Palace will also still be built — and lit up, starting on Feb. 6 — but people will not be able to enter it, according to Dean Baker, a member of the Winter Carnival Committee.

The scope of the limited activities for the upcoming event were announced at a Winter Carnival Committee meeting Tuesday, which was conducted over Zoom.

“We’re going to have an Ice Palace,” Baker said. “We’re going to start (building) about the 21st of January.”

Organizers are planning to encourage those who attend the two fireworks shows, on Feb. 6 and Feb. 13, 2021, to watch the shows from inside their vehicles. Eric Wilson, founder of Good Guy Productions, is planning to set the two fireworks shows to music that will be broadcast on the radio.

There will be no coronation of next year’s Winter Carnival king and queen. Joseph Szwed and Nancy Howard Heath were the king and queen in 2020 and will remain as the top royalty for the 2021 carnival. There will be no Rotary Club show, no fry pan toss, and no royalty dinner. There will be no slideshow to close out the carnival. The traditional Winter Carnival parade won’t happen next year, according to Winter Carnival Committee Chairman Jeff Branch.

Branch said the goal, for the committee, is to make sure that whatever events happen won’t involve people congregating.

The coronavirus continues to spread throughout the United States, with the country surpassing 300,000 COVID-19 related deaths this month. Public health officials continue to stress the importance of wearing masks and social distancing to help curb the spread of the virus. Though vaccine distribution has begun, the vaccine likely won’t be available to the general public in this state until spring 2021 at the earliest.

This year’s Winter Carnival theme is “Mask-erade,” a spin on what was already a leading theme idea, “Masquerade.”

Winter Carnival buttons — the proceeds of which typically go to the following year’s carnival — will still be sold to help pay for the 2022 Winter Carnival.

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