‘Carni Card’ has DIY Carnival ideas

SARANAC LAKE — A group of local women are trying to keep the spirit of Winter Carnival alive with a new game that families can play on their own.

The “Carni Card” was created by locals Heidi Kretser, her daughter Leena, her sister Jen Kretser, Amy Cheney Seymour and Gail Brill. It encourages residents to complete activities inspired by classic Carnival events.

“I heard all the events were canceled, and I thought, ‘We can’t do that!’ There’s so much creative space for doing things online or at home,” Heidi Kretser said. “I brainstormed it with my sister, and one thing led to the next.”

Altogether, there are 25 activities listed on the card, which was designed much like a bingo card by Brill. They range from “Do your own Rotary Show (music, dance, tricks, dress in drag) for the people in your bubble” — inspired by the annual Rotary Club show that’s usually held on the second Friday of Winter Carnival week — to “Dance around with a lawn chair,” a nod to the iconic Lawn Chair Ladies, a Winter Carnival parade staple. The Lawn Chair Ladies celebrated the group’s 25th anniversary last year.

“We really tried to think about all the different events that would be happening during Winter Carnival and try to include some activity or idea that would spark the memory of doing that activity,” Jen Kretser said.

Another of the activities is “support a locally owned restaurant or business.”

“They rely on Winter Carnival economically, and this year is obviously very different,” Jen said. She added that she thought it would be important to show local businesses and restaurants some love this year.

Jen said she’s looking forward to doing a DIY fry pan toss on the Carni Card — but with an old toaster, instead of a pan.

“I thought maybe I could do a toaster toss in my backyard and see how far it could go … safely,” she said.

There’s no set timeline for completing activities on the Carni Card, Heidi said.

“It’s a total free-for-all,” she said. “We’re putting this card out there. There’s no competition, no prizes.”

Heidi said one of her favorite parts of Winter Carnival is seeing her friends do crazy things out in the streets of Saranac Lake. She’s hoping that as residents complete events on the Carni Card, they’ll post pictures and videos on social media using the hashtag #DIYCarni.

“If people post with the hashtag, we’ll stilll be able to see folks do crazy things,” she said.


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