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Winter Carnival rouses village

"It's clear that they did a wonderful job salvaging most of it," said Dickson, noting how changing temperatures from the past few weeks are evident in the varied thickness of blocks that comprise the Ice Palace walls.

"It's just kind of an interesting contrast as you make your way up," he said. "Obviously, it came out great."

Winter Carnival royalty arrived on the scene to initiate the lighting ceremony, including this year's queen, Carol Reyell.

"The only thing that marred it in the slightest way was that our king was not able to attend," Dickson said.

Frank Carmelo, this year's Winter Carnival king, reportedly fell and injured his ankle shortly after attending the Ladies' Fry Pan Toss in the afternoon Feb. 6. Carnival organizers have wished him a speedy recovery in hopes he can continue his duties for this weekend.

If all goes well, Carmelo will be back on his feet in time to appear in the Gala Parade, a culminating event for the Winter Carnival.

"It's one of the largest gatherings in our community during the year," said Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce director Sylvie Nelson, who said the parade draws more than 10,000 people to the downtown area. "We're always very proud of the parade."

Dozens of groups participate in the parade, which encourages residents and visitors to come out in their best costume in line with the annual theme. This year, it's "Adirondack Cowboys"

"We expect it to live up to its usual standards," said Dickson, noting there are several bands lined up to play and plenty of floats entered in the parade.

The floats remain a surprise until the day of the parade, even to festival organizers. Still, Dickson expects most of them to reflect this year's theme.

"With the theme of Adirondack Cowboys, we're really looking forward to what people have thought of," said Nelson.

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