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Rotary Club show is full of surprises

Members of the 2019 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Royal Court dance in that year’s Rotary Club Show. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

SARANAC LAKE — The annual Winter Carnival has lots of traditions — the Ice Palace, the Gala Parade, a week’s worth of music at the Waterhole, and the Rotary Club Show.

“It’s an evening of good family fun,” said local Rotary Club President Hannah Hanford. “It’s part of the Winter Carnival tradition.”

The Rotary Club’s variety show at the Harrietstown Town Hall is often one of the more popular events throughout the week. In a phone interview Monday, Hanford said she always recommends getting tickets as early as possible.

“We generally sell out on tickets. It’s like going, going gone,” she said. “I always feel badly when someone comes to the door and it’s sold out.”

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $15 at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Ampersound, the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce, Coakley’s Home and Hardware and NBT Bank, or online at eventbrite.com for $20.

The Rotary Dancers, dressed as a caterpillar, enter the Harrietstown Town Hall auditorium during the 2017 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, surprising King John Wamsganz and Queen Anita Meserole at the end of the annual Rotary Club Variety Show. (Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7.

This year’s show features the Joe Dockery Trio, the Saranac Lake High School vocal ensembles, performances from young and older members of the Dance Sanctuary, a short production from Pendragon Theatre, singer Tally Duell and her guitar player and grandfather Fred Thwaits and folk group the Dust Bunnies.

“The culmination is the legendary Rotary dancers,” Hanford said.

The dancers tend to play it close to the chest, Hanford said. The performance usually involves some sort of drag element and a bunch of goofy costumes and makeup. We’ve seen them as cave people. We’ve seen them in patriotic red, white and blue outfits. What will we see this year?

“It’s a surprise, and I’m not at liberty discuss the performance,” she said. “They had a closed rehearsal the other day, and I wasn’t even allowed to go. They keep it top secret, and have been practicing since before Columbus Day.”

2018 Winter Carnival Court members dance at the Rotary Variety Show Friday evening, twirling, stutter-stepping and performing acrobatic spins and tosses. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

With only 35 members in the Rotary Club, Hanford called the variety show an “all hands on deck” event.

“We work hard to make it fresh every year,” she said. “We have the classic acts but also some new and different ones.”

Hanford said a sold-out show normally brings in between $7,500 and $8,500, and all the money goes back into the Saranac Lake community.

“Our club has made a priority for programs that benefit youth and food insecurity,” she said.

The money goes to programs such as the Saranac Lake Central School District Backpack Program, Community Lunch Box, Grace Food Pantry, Samaritan House, the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department and services that provide books to children.

Hundreds of people gather to see the lighting of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ice Palace Saturday, Feb. 1. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

What: Rotary Club variety show

Where: Harrietstown Town Hall, 39 Main St., Saranac Lake

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7

How much: Tickets are $15 at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, NBT Bank, Ampersound, the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce and Coakley’s Home and Hardware, and $20 at eventbrite.com

Chloe Opela prepares to throw an ax at the Paul Smith’s College woodsmen exhibition in Saranac Lake Saturday, Feb. 1. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

Shaun Kittle pushes his wife, Anna, and daughter Lucina on a kicksled on Lake Colby in Saranac Lake Sunday. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

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