Snowmobile racers go airborne during a race held by East Coast Snocross recently in conjunction with the Lake George Winter Carnival. Top snocross racers from the U.S. and Canada competed over two days in the series of sanctioned snowmobile races. The 2013 edition of the Winter Carnival was considered a substantial success by event organizers who said that an ice-covered lake, wintry weather and a lot of new participatory events drew the crowds this year.
Hours after the Lake George Winter Carnival concluded its four-weekend run for 2013, event organizers and area entrepreneurs said the Carnival attracted crowds -- and represented a rebound from last year when no ice formed on the lake.
"We had a great turnout for the Carnival's last weekend, and the prior Saturday was incredible," event co-chair Nancy Nichols said, noting she'd never seen the village so busy as she did Saturday Feb. 16.
"Parking spaces throughout the village were scarce," she said. "It was wonderful to see all the open businesses doing well."
Last year, historically warm weather meant the lake never froze over, forcing cancellation of various events on the ice.
This year, motorcycle and sports car ice races were cancelled, but the crowds came anyway to enjoy the participatory activities -- which are now a growing trend for families, Nichols said.
Adult and children's zumba were offered on the dance floor at King Neptune's pub, and many of all ages enjoyed the exercise to music, she said.
Children's games were also a big hit, particularly the turkey bowling which involves skidding a frozen turkey toward pins set up on ice. The bowling and other games were presented by the Warren County Youth Court members as a fundraiser for their operations.
Over all four Saturdays, hundreds of people were drawn to the communal bonfire on the beach, with dozens of children roasting marshmallows for s'mores, while singer-songwriter Rich Ortiz played his progressive folk-rock.
Ice skating on Lake George also was a popular activity for all ages, Nichols said.
An ATV scavenger hunt, which took riders to various businesses through town, was also quite popular, she said.
Creative, colorful and detailed face painting by Amanda Wecott of Art Bucket was extraordinarily popular, Nichols said, noting that people waited in line as long as an hour and a half for Wescott's artistry.
Also popular was this year's new dog talent show, in which various dogs demonstrated tricks and how well they could follow commands, Nichols said. Various poodles and bichons were dressed up in formal garb -- even wearing jewelry for a dog fashion show, she said.
"Spectator sports are wonderful, but people are now finding out they have more fun if they go out there and participate," Nichols said.