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Kokalas couple to be honored for boosting Lake George Winter Carnival

From turkey bowling to a boosted treasury, they've had an impact

Ed and Kathi Kokalas have devoted countless hours over the years to building the success of the Lake George Winter Carnival. Their dedicated volunteer efforts are to be recognized at the Carnival’s Kickoff Gala Dinner-Dance, to be held Saturday Jan. 28 at Dunham’s Bay Resort on Lake George.

Ed and Kathi Kokalas have devoted countless hours over the years to building the success of the Lake George Winter Carnival. Their dedicated volunteer efforts are to be recognized at the Carnival’s Kickoff Gala Dinner-Dance, to be held Saturday Jan. 28 at Dunham’s Bay Resort on Lake George. Photo by Thom Randall.

— For years, a local couple has devoted countless volunteer hours year-round to organizing the Lake George Winter Carnival, a four-weekend extravaganza of outdoor events.

Now, they’re stepping down from active leadership of the carnival, considered the premier event of its kind in the region.

Ed and Kathi Kokalas will be honored for their years of work at the Lake George Winter Carnival’s annual Kickoff Gala Dinner-Dance, to be held Saturday Jan. 28 at Dunham’s Bay Resort.

While the revelers at the popular event will be undoubtedly be enjoying silent auctions, musical entertainment and socializing, the spotlight will be on the Kokalases. The recognition will be for their 14 years of dedicated work to make the Winter Carnival such a success, Carnival official Nancy Nichols said.

“Ed and Kathi have had such enthusiasm and such passion for the Winter Carnival, she said. “They’ve always been so busy, day or night, between selling ads, distributing programs, selling souvenirs, helping with polar plunge, coordinating weekly cook-off events and running the children’s games.”

Their work will have a lasting impact on the carnival, Nichols said, noting that Ed has worked for years to expand the family-oriented activities as well as get the local residents more involved.

During the Kokalas’ involvement, Carnival has undergone a transition — from being primarily a spectator event, into one that engages people of all ages in activities.

The races of various motorized vehicles still are featured, but the Carnival now features a spectrum of children’s games, contests and craft sessions, dog sled rides, kite flying and demonstrations, beach volleyball, and ladder ball, among other activities.

Ed Kokalas’ signature contribution to the lineup of games, Nichols said, is turkey bowling.

“Ed comes up with the craziest ideas, but they always seem to work,” she said.

One of his ideas wasn’t so crazy.

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