LAKE PLACID - Organizers of the 2014 Empire State Winter Games announced Wednesday that Hannaford Supermarkets will be its first big corporate sponsor.
Hannaford has pledged $10,000, and it will also promote the games through two other means: pin sales and a contest for a Lake Placid vacation package.
The games feature more than 1,000 athletes from New York state competing in winter sports. They will take place from Feb. 6 to 9, which is also the opening weekend of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
From left, state Olympic Regional Development Authority CEO and President Ted Blazer, Hannaford Supermarkets Community Specialist Molly Tarleton, Lake Placid cross-country skier Nina Armstrong and New York Ski Education Foundation nordic coach Margaret Maher make a presentation about Hannaford sponsoring the Empire State Winter Games Wednesday at Hannaford's Lake Placid store.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
These will be the 34th Empire State Winter Games and the fourth year the event has been privately hosted and funded by an Adirondack regional coalition, consisting of the towns of North Elba, Harrietstown, Brighton, Tupper Lake, Wilmington and Jay; and the villages of Lake Placid, Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake; the counties of Essex and Franklin; the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism and the state Olympic Regional Development Authority.
The grocery chain will sell 1,000 Empire State Winter Games pins at some of its northern New York stores. Proceeds from the pins, which will sell for $4.99 each, will go to the games. The silver pins will feature Hannaford and ESWG logos, and will be available from Jan. 22 through Feb. 15.
ROOST CEO Jim McKenna, one of the ESWG's organizers, was excited about the contributions.
"It's allowing us to do the Sports Fest on Saturday, which we haven't been able to fund, No. 1," McKenna said. "No. 2, we're hoping that the pins take off, and that will be a nice boost for us."
Hannaford will also offer an in-store contest to win one of three Lake Placid travel packages. Each package includes three-night accommodations for two at select hotels in Lake Placid; daily breakfast; a pair of two-day lift tickets to Whiteface Mountain Ski Center; ski or snowboard rentals; a bobsled ride for two; and access to all Olympic venues including the Olympic ski jumps, museum, sports complex and speed skating oval. That contest started Wednesday in northern New York and Burlington, Vt. area stores and will run through Jan. 27.
"Lake Placid and the Adirondack region have a unique place in Olympic history," said Molly Tarleton, Hannaford community specialist. "Hannaford is honored to support the outstanding athletes who continue to inspire us with their dedication to their sport."
"This is a first-time relationship with Hannaford Supermarkets," ORDA CEO and President Ted Blazer said. "It's going to be a turning point for these games. ... It's going to help take us to another level. But one thing is for sure, it's going to help perpetuate this event into the future."
"It's awesome that (the games are) going to continue to go on," Lake Placid High School cross-country skier Nina Armstrong said. "I know in 2011, it almost ended, and I was pretty sad about that. But now that Hannaford is helping, it's going to secure its spot."