Winter Carnival is right around the corner, which means people from all over are heading to Saranac Lake for America’s oldest Winter Carnival. Here are a few facts to help you get in the spirit!
- The Pontiac Club – a winter sports club founded in 1896 – hosted a “fancy dress” winter carnival and hockey match on Lake Flower in February of 1897. Hundreds of people came to attend, and the event was expanded the following year for the first official Saranac Lake Winter Carnival.
- The first Ice Palace was constructed in 1899 with two more built in 1900 and 1901. The palace was then built every other year until 1911, and then built at random until 1920. The outbreak of WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII prevented the palace from being built thereafter. It was not until 1955 that the Ice Palace would again become a staple of Winter Carnival.
- Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury, has designed the pins for Winter Carnival since 1981. Previous years’ themes include Under the Sea, Adirondack Cowboy, Groovy 60s, Aloha!, Celtic, Medieval Times, Pirates, Space Alien Invasion, Hollywood, Roaring 20s, and Mardi Gras.
- The first king and queen of Winter Carnival were crowned in 1907.