Sara the Snowy Owl 2000

Chapter III: Sara Talks to Saranac Lake
Sara the Snowy Owl parade
photo by Andy Flynn

Sara the Snowy Owl Fable - 2000

Chapter III: Sara Talks to Saranac Lake

When Sara the Snowy Owl came to Saranac Lake to visit Winter Carnival in 1936 she was happy to be back. It had been a few years since she had been to Saranac Lake and thus the folks of the Village had not needed to build a Ice Palace home for Sara.

When that great white owl Sara did not fly in, the Village folks put the grand February festival, the Winter Carnival, on hold. With out Sara, the life of the party, the town took a break from Winter Carnival.

Many changes had occurred in the village in the years since Sara's last visit. The town hall she remembered had burned down, and the villagers had built a new one in the same location. It was a beautiful brick structure, and the heart of community activities. When Sara first saw the auditorium in the building she knew this would be the perfect spot for concerts. Though she didn't know it at the time, the new town hall would also be the perfect spot for the crowning of the King and Queen of Winter Carnival once the winter festival started naming royalty.

There was also the new Paul Smith's Electric Light & Power & Railroad Company building. Many visitors had come and stayed a short while in the village to cure from tuberculous. With the curative properties of life in the village and the freshness of the air, Saranac Lake was well known as a place to get better.

Like the rest of the country, Saranac Lake had endured a great depression, but was once again a thriving community.

And there was now something new in the air that would change the village for evermore. It was something that would bring the Village even closer than it had been. It was something that would give Sara a chance to visit all her friends, without going to each person's home!

Since Sara had started visiting she had become friends with most all the residents of the small Village. She also had become a healing spirit for all the visitors who were in Saranac Lake to recover from tuberculous. When Sara came to town and visited the patients in the Trudeau Sanitarium and the other curing cottages in the Village there were clearly a therapeutic results.

Sara had so many friends that when she made her visits, it was difficult for her to see everyone. In fact, in 1936 she had little time to participate in the many Winter Carnival events. She thought she was going to miss some of the Northern New York Speed Skating Championships and maybe even the dog sled races. The Skater's Ball was the highlight of the 1936 Winter Carnival Social Calendar and Sara thought she might have to miss that too.

But that was before Sara found out what was new in the air.

Sara was having tea with her new friend Hannah, the 10-year-old acting star of Saranac Lake and her manager, Tera Olive. The white owl was excusing herself to go visit some of her other show business friends who were in the town. Hannah was by no means the only actor that Sara knew. Saranac Lake was a recreational mecca for entertainers. So much so that Tera worked for the William Morris Talent Agency which had set up an office in the Village.

Sara told Hannah that she wished she could get the whole Village into the Town Hall so she could talk to them all at once, when Hannah suggested they take a trip to the radio station, where Hannah was famous for her commercials. At first Sara thought Hannah had gone off the deep end. The Snowy Owl thought Hannah was referring to the Radio-Flyer wagons that many of the children in Saranac Lake had. The children would often push their wagons up to the top of the many hills and go flying down, driving their parents crazy with fear. Sara thought that Hannah meant the owl should hop in a wagon and travel around to her friends.

Then Hannah explained what was new in the air – it was WNBZ. The small radio station had first gone on the air in 1928. In fact, Hannah said, while walking over to the big wood box in the corner of the room, there is a really great show coming on the air now. They gathered around the wood box and Hannah turned some knobs. At first there was static, then a voice came on announcing there was going to be an encore production of "A Stranger For Christmas." It was a radio drama and like magic the radio broadcast a wonderful story.

Right after the show was over, Sara flew over to the radio station and talked to the owners Earl Smith and Bill Mace. Sara and the owners became fast friends and they offered the White Owl a chance to broadcast to her friends whenever she was in Saranac Lake.

Shortly after her visit to the station, Sara, with Hannah's help, developed the very famous comedy routine of Hoo's on First.

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