SARANAC LAKE — With the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival in full-swing, the first weekend proved busier by far than in past years.
A marked uptick in visitors and travelers flocked to the village last weekend, which is typically not the most hectic period.
“Some of our merchants told us it was the busiest (carnival) day in memory, which says a lot,” Mayor Clyde Rabideau shared on Monday.
Village officials normally bolster ranks for the onslaught of some 20,000 spectators on the second weekend, anticipating jovial locals and participants who sign up for the Gala Parade, carnival games and races or come as spectators.
But last weekend at the Ice Palace site on Riverside Drive, the mayor said, “traffic was backed up for a half-mile in each direction with hordes of pedestrians trying to cross (the street).
“We usually have traffic control for the second weekend, but good weather, great publicity and the growing popularity of family events brought a huge crowd to Saranac Lake for this the first weekend.”
‘BUSIEST DAY EVER’
Saranac Lake Police Chief Bruce Nason told the Press-Republican there were no problems due to the big crowd.
“Saturday was very, very, very busy. We had to set up a pedestrian area for people to cross and just (to be) careful for people’s safety. These are family events, and it was nice to see so many people out.
“We hope just as many come for the parade. It’s good for people to come see what we have to offer.”
Carnival foot traffic extended through the village.
In a news release on Monday, Little Italy restaurateur Paolo Magro characterized Sunday as “the busiest day I’ve ever seen in all my years in business here.”
Little Italy is directly across from Riverside Park in the heart of downtown Saranac Lake.