SARANAC LAKE - Like the hero from an old western, the 2010 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival rode off into the sunset, but not before turning this Adirondack village into a boomtown.
With the festivities finally coming to a close, Carnival Committee chair Jeff Dickson said this year's carnival was a definite success.
"My impression is that we had very large crowds," said Dickson, "and everything went off without a hitch, which is always a good thing."
The 10-day celebration came to a climax Feb. 13 with its annual Gala Parade. There were 65 entries for this year's parade, which again drew thousands of people to the village.
"It's always a big shot in the arm for us this time of year," said Sylvie Nelson, director of the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.
Evidence of the carnival's economic impact will become clearer in the next few months as occupancy tax revenues are assessed, but Nelson said the crowds made for a "full house" for local businesses and hotels.
"Most of our members were full as far as accommodations," she said, adding that tourists are still making their way to the area just to see the Ice Palace, which could remain standing for another few weeks.
"It's really weather dependent," said Dickson. "As soon as they feel it's unsafe, they'll knock it down."
Also in the near future, the carnival committee will hold meetings to determine the theme for the 2011 Winter Carnival, which has already been scheduled for Feb. 4-13, 2011. Suggestions from the public are welcome.
"We look forward to having everyone back again," said Dickson.
2010 Winter Carnival results
Children's Ice Skating Races
1. Sydney Dann (:37)
2. Karlie Goetz (:41)
3. Sophia Kelting (:43)
1. Kaylen Reiley (:23)
2. Carter Sturgeon (:24)
3. Joey Walsh (:31)