We Know How to enjoy winter- Carnival FUN
Don’t miss the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival! This 10 day celebration starts the first weekend in February. Parades, games, exhibits, celebrations, concerts, and more, all with a focus on family fun. We start and end with incredible fireworks against a black velvet Adirondack sky. Our Ice Palace (made from real ice right out of Lake Flower) comes with a King, Queen, and royal court.
Winter Carnival History
Since 1897, our Winter Carnival has been a grassroots, volunteer-driven event that started as a celebration to break up the spectacular, but deep, winters. The extra impetus came from the village’s transition from lively logging community to wilderness research and cure center for tuberculosis. The treatment of the time, while more successful that any other attempts until the discovery of antibiotics, emphasized lots of rest and few activities. But, the patients also needed a boost to their morale. And so the Winter Carnival was born.
Like many communities in the area, Saranac Lake was in the “ice trade,” cutting blocks of frozen water to serve the refrigeration needs of turn-of-the-century cities. So the equipment, and the expertise, was already in place to build the first Ice Tower. While there is now heavy equipment in use, the construction techniques are the same as the ones used over one hundred years ago. Over the years, enthusiasm has expanded the original Tower into a whole Ice Palace complex.
Make Saranac Lake's Winter Carnival Your Adirondack Getaway
Of course, we have plenty of lively, snow-centered activities and events, like the ski and snowshoe races, Ice Palace Fun Run, a curling exhibition, and snowball toss. We keep tradition alive with the woodman’s demonstration of logging skills and add modern fun like the Ultimate Frisbee Games and Fireman’s Broomball. There’s plenty of music, almost every day, from our vast pool of local talent.
Some don’t-miss elements are the Arctic BBQ, the crowd favorite Women's Frying Pan Toss, and the world-famous Lawn Chair Ladies with their synchronized performance dancing. It wouldn’t be a Winter Carnival Parade without them!
We have so many things to enjoy we do have to remind you to stop… to simply admire the beauty of the Ice Palace, whether lit from within by the afternoon sun or ablaze with colored lights after dark. Gather for the fireworks and enjoy group bonfires with hot chocolate and s’mores.
Browse some of the events lined up for Winter Carnival