the most fun you'll have all winter
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival began as an integral part of Saranac Lake's history as a renowned health resort. In order to break winter's chill and to promote outdoor sports and games, the Pontiac Club was formed in November 1896, and a few months later, they sponsored a one-day fancy dress winter carnival in 1897, which was expanded into the Pontiac Club Carnival in 1898.
Named the second best winter carnival in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine in 2012, the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is the longest-running event of its kind in the eastern U.S. Since 1897, it has grown into a 10-day festival that includes sports, performances, two parades and three sets of spectacular fireworks.
Over the years, the Winter Carnival has retained the warmth, charm and camaraderie of a community celebration. The Carnival – organized by an all-volunteer group called the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee – is a community-driven festival made possible by the efforts of many volunteers and sponsors. The centerpiece of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is the Ice Palace, built by volunteers on the shore of Lake Flower's Pontiac Bay at the state boat launch.
Learn more about the Winter Carnival on our History page.
Most photography on this website is produced by Mark Kurtz Photography, official photographer for Saranac Lake Winter Carnival.