QUEENSBURY - Lake George officials are fed up with young rabble-rousers interfering with the annual Americade bike rally. And to combat the impending influx of "destructive youth," the village may require bars to close early and are asking for en even greater police presence.
"Some things happened this year that were out of the norm," Lake George Village Mayor Bob Blais said this week. "We are seeing things that take away from the family atmosphere and what we want Lake George to be."
According to Blais, local youth - not registered Americaders - are flooding to the village to see the "show" of bikes and people. They are clustering outside of bars and on Canada Street, resulting in vandalism and fights.
Warren County Sheriff's Department officials said that arrests were down around five percent relative to previous years.
"I got more email this year than ever from people saying that they will not be returning," he said. "The people coming in for the excitement have no redeeming value whatsoever to the community."
This year, Lake George Village Peace Officers made nine arrests for possession of marijuana and seven for disorderly conduct.
"The problems are all coming from kids," village peace officer supervisor Tom Glode said. "When the bars close in Warrensburg or Johnsburg, they all go to Lake George to party."
According to Glode, numerous instances of vandalism occured on the area back streets, outside of the state and county police presence which is focused on Canada Street.
"I was afraid to even walk down the street because of the large crowds of young people just hanging out," said Sundowner Motel Owner Jeff Rougean. "It was a gang-like atmosphere with nothing to do with Americade."
Americade participants are typically older, mellower individuals, Glode said.
Warren County Sheriff Bud York said that more sobriety checks may be added on the outskirts of Lake George to assure drunken youth are not making their way into the event.
York said that an undercover police effort would be more effective in combating the "gang mentality."
"If an undercover officer comes out of no where and makes an arrest, that will spread through the crowd like wild fire," York said.
According to county sheriff officers, the mood changes drastically at about 9 p.m. on Friday night and continues throughout the remainder of the weekend.
"We may need to shut the bars down at 10 p.m.," Blais said. "The younger people are not part of the expo and have no redeeming qualities at all."