For the love of Carnival

Drummers participating in a previous Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Parade. (Provided photo — Diane Chase)

There is much to be said about finding a sense of place, the emotional bond and attachment to a particular environment or location. Finding meaningful connections through family, friends, or community is challenging. I am always in awe of how Saranac Lake’s Winter Carnival pulls people together while lifting us out of the winter doldrums.

I marvel at my friends putting in countless hours designing parade floats and costumes. I am in awe of the dancers, marching bands and other parade participants spending their free time keeping a tradition alive for others to enjoy. I applaud all the Ice Palace volunteers facing adverse weather conditions to build a temporary structure using thousands of ice blocks pulled from nearby Lake Flower. I am indebted to the Winter Carnival Committee for organizing a 10-day event with various activities.

My family has participated in numerous Carnival events, from tubing to curling. We’ve helped build floats, walked with school groups or marched in the school band. We’ve also been unable to be involved due to work conflicts. There is no right or wrong way to be connected. The enthusiasm is infectious.

Being able to attend events is lovely, but only possible for some. Due to the thoughtfulness of the Carnival Committee, my homebound mother can still be part of the action by making a suncatcher or watching the Ice Palace progress via the IPW-Local 101 Facebook page. Carnival participants can see a play or live music, make a button or watch fireworks. More mobile people can toss a frying pan, play snow volleyball or be part of a Tug-of-War. The level of involvement is individual.

I understand the Winter Carnival is another way to market Saranac Lake. The festival introduces our beautiful area to new people, visiting from all over the world. Thankfully, this winter celebration is more about community with a side of tourism. All the volunteers, sponsors and community members showcase to visitors what we already know, the power of Saranac Lake’s sense of place. We get to gather together for this annual winter ritual in the place where we live and work.

Thank you to all the individuals involved who continue to make this celebration of winter a much loved tradition. It’s always carnival love here.


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