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January 16, 2014

Time to shine: Empire State Winter Games open Feb. 6

LAKE PLACID — The Empire State Winter Games start here one day before the XXII Winter Olympics in Sochi.

On Feb. 6, opening ceremonies in Lake Placid will draw more than 1,000 athletes to New York’s signature amateur sporting competition. 

Venues throughout the region are ramping up to welcome them here amid Olympic celebrations.

“The Empire State Winter Games begin in three weeks and one day,” event spokesman Sandy Caligiore announced Wednesday. “The Winter Olympics begin in three weeks and two days.

“We are going to have many athletes at Sochi who got their start in the Empire State Winter Games.”

REGIONAL APPROACH

That the two events led into each other means a busy few days in early February for the Olympic Village and nearby towns, especially since Saranac Lake’s Winter Carnival — with this year’s theme, the Celtic Carnival — begins at the same time.

But leaders at sports venues and in the business community see it as a time to shine.

Jim McKenna, president and CEO of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST), said the Empire State winter sporting events have grown this year to include venues in Tupper Lake and at the Paul Smith’s Visitor’s Interpretive Center in Brighton.

“We’ve really achieved a regional approach to the games this year. And it’s our fourth year. These events are growing nicely,” he said.

The start to this season’s Empire State Games was bolstered Wednesday with the addition of a presenting sponsor, the first such corporate sponsor since the program was reinvigorated four years ago.

Hannaford Supermarkets stepped in to add both $10,000 in financing for New York’s local athletic event and special promotions in 10 of its New York supermarkets.

Olympic Regional Development Authority CEO Ted Blazer welcomed Hannaford support at a special announcement held at the grocery store’s Lake Placid location.

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