Nothing says Saranac Lake quite like Winter Carnival

We're looking forward to seeing you! The 2024 Winter Carnival will be held Friday, February 2 - Sunday, February 11.

Theme: Get ready for a scary good time, because this year's theme is "Creepy Carnival"!

Full Schedule of Events: Winter Carnival 2024

Parade: Saturday, February 10

Ice Palace: The ice palace is constructed for the entirety of Winter Carnival, weather permitting. The lighting of the palace and fireworks is Saturday, February 3 and will remain lit each night until closing on February 11. 

Don’t stay inside this winter — come celebrate, Saranac Lake style! Winter Carnival is a 10-day event filled with fun. Every Carnival has a theme, which is displayed at the Ice Palace, in costume, and at events. Carnival-goers will find all manner of family-friendly events, eclectic bands performing nightly, a lively parade, and all the games, exhibits, and celebrations they can handle. 

The action heats up with the lighting of the Ice Palace. Get bundled up and watch as fireworks light up the Adirondack sky, then get your chance to enter the palace, a huge structure made out of ice blocks pulled directly from Lake Flower. A palace isn’t the same without royalty, so enjoy the palace features as you look around for the king, queen, and royal court!

After the opening, stick around for a schedule packed with costumes, revelry, good cheer, and all of the creative energy that makes Saranac Lake the Adirondacks’ most decidedly different destination! Winter Carnival — you have to experience it to believe it!

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 a lively logging community to a wilderness research and cure center for tuberculosis. The treatment of the time emphasized lots of rest and few activities. But patients also needed a boost to their morale. And so 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 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 100 years ago. Enthusiasm has grown over the years, and the original tower has grown into a magnificent palace made from the frozen waters of Lake Flower.

Make Winter Carnival your Adirondack getaway  

Leave your car behind — most of Saranac Lake’s lodging is located a short walk from the Ice Palace! You’ll want to head downtown after exploring its icy walls to participate in some of the lively, snow-centered activities and events, like the ski and snowshoe races, Ice Palace Fun Run, curling exhibition, and Arctic Golf. We keep tradition alive with the woodsmen’s demonstration of logging skills and add modern fun like the Ultimate Frisbee Games and Fireman’s Broomball.

Other don’t-miss Carnival happenings include the Arctic BBQ, the crowd-favorite Ladies Fry Pan Toss, and the world-famous Lawn Chair Ladies with their synchronized performance dancing. It wouldn’t be a Winter Carnival Parade without them!

Put a pin in it!

Every year, "Doonesbury" cartoonist, Garry Trudeau, designs a new, themed, collectible pin as a fundraiser for the event. Start your collection now! For just $5, pick up one of these awesome buttons at many Saranac Lake businesses, or during your trip to the Ice Palace at the new History Hut Gift Shop and Headquarters located at the Lake Flower Boat launch. For a full list businesses and more information, visit the Winter Carnival website.

For the most up-to-date information, visit the official Saranac Lake Winter Carnival website. Please keep in mind that all events are subject to change.

For more information on where to stay and what to do on your Winter Carnival getaway, check out all the outdoor recreation available in the Saranac Lake area!