And the next Winter Carnival theme is …

Committee selects ‘Roman around Carnival’ as 2023 Winter Carnival theme

Hands shoot up at the Winter Carnival Committee’s theme selection meeting on Tuesday as attendees vote on which theme suggestions they liked best. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE — Get ready to toss on a toga, climb on a chariot and follow your local aqueduct to the coliseum, the theme for the 2023 Winter Carnival is “Roman around Carnival.”

Ice Palace builder and designer Chris Grimone pitched this Eternal City theme at the start of the Carnival Committee’s theme selection meeting on Tuesday. Committee Secretary Nancy LaBombard said the board is always open to suggestions, even up until the day of the vote.

It was a nail-biter of a Winter Carnival theme selection meeting, as Grimone’s 11th-hour proposal was selected to be the 2023 Winter Carnival theme after two tie votes and a lot of deliberation amongst the committee.

Grimone said he was glad to have his theme chosen, but he’s mostly excited to see how people celebrate Roman style come February.

The idea came out of a collaborative effort between himself and some friends chatting about themes.

Everyone who attended Tuesday’s meeting got a vote.

The committee narrowed the eight proposed themes — Wizards and Dragons, Music Legends, The ’70s, Festival of Fools, Party of the Century, Welcome to the Jungle, Video Games and Roman around Carnival — down to two. The vote between Music Legends and Roman around Carnival was split 10-10. A tie.

But Branch counted 23 people in the room. This Enterprise reporter recused himself from the vote for ethical reasons. Ice Palace Workers 101 Director Dean Baker did not vote and one other person didn’t vote.

The committee entered into a lively discussion period on what makes a good carnival theme — considering children, costumes, floats, music, the Ice Palace, creativity and Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau’s buttons.

Eventually, two more people voted, two changed their votes and Roman around Carnival won with 14 votes.

Romans weren’t just about toga parties, Grimone said. There are many aspects of Roman society, sport, architecture, mythology and history to be emulated and enjoyed.

The Carnival Committee doesn’t set guidelines for how people dress or decorate, but one attendee pointed out that Trudeau’s buttons and the Ice Palace carvings often set the tone for others to follow.

“This is one of my favorite meetings,” Committee chair Jeff Branch said at the end of the meeting. “I love the interaction and I love the passion.”


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