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Lake George Winter Carnival wraps up challenging season

During Lake George Winter Carnival’s final weekend for 2012, a group of polar swimmers relax on Shepard Park Beach before plunging into cold waters. About 65 swimmers, many in costumes, braved the waters of Lake George.

During Lake George Winter Carnival’s final weekend for 2012, a group of polar swimmers relax on Shepard Park Beach before plunging into cold waters. About 65 swimmers, many in costumes, braved the waters of Lake George. Tim Weatherwax/One Shot Photography

— Carnival officials planned a beach party and Mardi Gras volleyball for Saturday, but ironically, light snow killed the concepts.

Also, the popular Tubby Tube slide —which careens down a ramp with or without snow — was foiled by thieves this past weekend, Nichols said. Someone broke into a storage shed on the beach and stole the four large heavy-duty tubes that children had enjoyed using on a setup this year in Shepard Park, Nichols said.

“Each day this year we had to work with the hand we were dealt,” she said. “The volunteers were wonderful with their positive attitudes.”

The ATV Poker Run, extended from the prior week, was well-received among vehicle enthusiasts.

Saturday’s chicken wing cookoff was popular, however, as was the polar plunge.

No less than 65 people tore into the 35-degree water at 3 p.m. Saturday, many in costume.

Nichols said whether they were dressed as pirates, aliens or comic-book heroes, they demonstrated both creativity and bravery.

Delighting the crowd, the swimmers went in and out of the water for an extended swim, she said.

Saturday, a crowd of 300 or so gathered around the Carnival beach bonfire, which has in recent years has become the fest’s signature event, Nichols said.

“Richie Ortiz and his music on guitar kept the people riveted to the Shepard Park beach after hours,” she said.

February 2012 was the first Carnival season ever to have both no ice and no snow, testing the ingenuity of Carnival staffers.

Five years ago, the lake didn’t freeze over, but the Carnival added sledding events, snow sculpture contests and ski races.

This year, really posed a challenge, she said, noting that she’s recommended planning backup kayak and paddleboat races if the weather doesn’t cooperate in February 2012.

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