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Holiday fests envisioned for Lake George

LAKE GEORGE - In an effort to boost both tourism and seasonal spirit in Lake George Village, municipal officials are planning to develop two festive holiday offerings beginning in winter 2011: a First Day arts and culture celebration and a holiday lights spectacular.

Mayor Robert Blais has begun building support for the first fest, to be patterned after First Night Saratoga, and Lake George officials Vinnie Crocitto and Ray Perry are working on launching Lake George Holiday Lights Spectacle, a display and recurring show of synchronized holiday lights and sound in downtown Lake George.

The two concepts were unveiled Monday, Jan. 10 at the Lake George village and town board meetings.

Blais said he envisions that First Day Lake George could involve various musicians and performers in various venues around Lake George on New Year's Day like Saratoga annually does New Year's Eve. That First Night Saratoga event, which drew about 14,000 people this year, is New York State's largest New Year's Eve celebration outside of Times Square in Manhattan.

Blais sent a letter out to local businesses to garner support, and he said Monday he's received enthusiastic response.

He said he dreamed up the idea after seeing the crowd of more than 5,000 in Lake George Jan. 1 for the annual First Day Polar Plunge, and thought these thousands of visitors - and local businesses owners - would enjoy it if a variety of attractions were developed for future years to keep them in the village all day long.

"This could be a huge weekend for Lake George," Blais said. "We now have 5,000 people annually here in the village for the polar plunge - should we just let them go home after the swim? No way!"

Blais said the Lake George Arts Project could sponsor the event, assuring its artistic integrity as well as its success. He said the event could be a fundraiser for the group, which now sponsors the acclaimed annual Lake George Jazz Weekend.

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