The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is a winter tradition in New York State. Named one of the best winter carnivals in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine, you won't want to miss this snowy spectacular. Head to the Adirondacks January 31 - February 9 for 10 full days of family-friendly fun.
In 1897, the first Winter Carnival was held in Saranac Lake, when the village was a thriving logging community nestled deep in the Adirondack wilderness. The first carnival-which ran one day only and required fancy dress-promoted outdoor sports and games to help residents beat the winter chill.
In 1948, the Winter Carnival became an annual event-and now this multi-day carnival features sports, performances, two parades, and three sets of spectacular fireworks. The Ice Palace-which had not been built since 1920-made a comeback in 1954, and has been a highlight of every carnival since.
This year's Ice Palace is currently being built-head to Saranac Lake to see it in progress! It takes a team of workers (and chainsaws!) to build each year's magnificent palace. Each wall of the Ice Palace is double-built, so that lights can be installed inside the palace walls; be sure to see the final palace at night.
Frying Pan Toss
The Winter Carnival schedule is packed to the gills with fun, family-friendly activities-but the Frying Pan Toss is certainly one of the most unique. Ladies of all ages throw a cooking skillet as far as they can; the farthest throw wins! Catch this event at 12:30 PM on Saturday, February 1-or check out the full Saranac Lake Winter Carnival schedule for more events and activities.
Not just one-but two! The carnival's annual Gala Parade takes place Saturday, February 8, starting at 1 PM. The parade will end at Town Hall, where the parade bands will perform a beautiful send-off. On the final day of the carnival (Sunday, February 9), the Kiddie Parade kicks off at 2 PM in front of the Saranac Lake Library-your children are encouraged to participate in this free event!
On Thursday, February 6 at 6 PM, crowds will gather at the Mount Pisgah Ski Center for the Torchlight Ski. Skiers will illuminate the scenic mountains with brightly colored torches. Participate in the ski yourself, or gather with crowds at the base of the mountain to watch the fireworks!
Catch three spectacular fireworks displays during the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. The opening fireworks display follows the lighting of the Ice Palace on Saturday, February 1. On the final day of Winter Carnival-Saturday, February 9-catch another stunning display of fireworks while carnival-goers storm the Palace. A third fireworks display will follow the Torchlight Ski at Mount Pisgah on February 6.
While you're enjoying the fun at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, don't forget to grab a collectible carnival button-designed by "Doonesbury" creator Garry Trudeau! The buttons are collected by residents and visitors every year and can be purchased at various locations around Saranac Lake. Learn more about this year's carnival button here.
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Headquarters opens for the season on January 29 and will remain open until the last day of Carnival on February 9. Located at 141 River Street, the headquarters offers information about the various events of the 10-day festival, which runs from January 31 to February 9. The headquarters serves as a central resource for visitors and will be open from 10 am. to 5:30 pm.
Headquarters will offer a variety of items for sale, including Winter Carnival buttons from this year and previous years, posters, apparel and much more. Many of the items are decorated with the new Winter Carnival logo. All proceeds benefit the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee.
The Empire State Winter Games
In nearby Lake Placid is the Empire State Winter Games-the largest multi-sport amateur athletic winter sporting event in North America, featuring the Olympic gold medalists of tomorrow. The 34th Empire State Winter Games takes place in the Adirondacks from February 6-9, anchored at the Lake Placid Olympic Center at Whiteface Mountain, with additional events held in Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and Brighton.