Top Festivals

Downtown Skaneateles transforms into a Victorian village, thanks in part to the 50 costumed characters interpreting Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.
Downtown Skaneateles transforms into a Victorian village, thanks in part to the 50 costumed characters interpreting Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.

From ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Festival to Snodeo in Old Forge, region has a variety of festival options

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

It’s time to turn up the thermostat and turn up the fun. It’s winter festival time in New York, where winter brings a flurry of festivals celebrating the season.

• Combine classic Christmas film with family fun and you have Seneca Falls’ “It’s a Wonderful Life” Festival. Seneca Falls is said to have inspired director Frank Capra’s vision for character George Baily’s hometown, Bedford Falls, making Seneca Falls the perfect backdrop for celebrating the film. Enthusiasts won’t want to miss the opportunity to meet actors from “It’s a Wonderful Life”, including Karolyn Grimes, who played youngest Bailey daughter, Zuzu.

More information: http://therealbedfordfalls.com.

Dickens’ Christmas in Skaneateles  also has a perfect backdrop for its celebration as the quaint downtown area transforms into a Victorian village, thanks in part to the 50 costumed characters interpreting Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and interacting with visitors. In addition to the scheduled activities, strolling Skaneateles decked out in holiday finery is reason enough to go.

More information: www.facebook.com/Dickens-Christmas-in-Skaneateles-196751397960.

• Sure, your neighborhood may have lots of lights. But Lights on the Lake at Onondaga Lake Park in Liverpool boasts two miles of lights, including themed areas and animated characters. The display is up through December and early January, so you have plenty of opportunity to see this local favorite.

More information: www.lightsonthelake.com.

• Love snowmobiling? Don’t miss Snodeo in Old Forge.Everything related to snowmobiles is here, from new models to vendors with parts and  accessories. Plus, you can watch plenty of snowmobile races in several divisions.

For more information: http://visitmyadirondacks.com/snodeo/index.html.

Holiday Traditions in Auburn is less about snow and more about history. All Sunday afternoon (noon to 5 p.m.) on Dec. 9, no admission is charged at the Seward House Museum, Willard Memorial Chapel, Schweinfurth Art Center, Ward O’Hara Agricultural Museum and Harriet Tubman Home during their holiday open houses. The venues will offer tours, live music, and refreshments. History buffs should not pass up this opportunity, but anyone who enjoys holiday decor should check it out, too.

For more information: www.auburnny.gov/Public_Documents/AuburnNY_BBoard/05D85E70-000F8513.

• Even if you’re not a big fan of winter, Saranac Lake Winter Carnival impresses with its size and scope, such as the enormous, lit-up ice castle. Plus, it lasts ten days and offers activities beyond the typical winter sports, such as Ladies Frying Pan Toss, Ultimate Frisbee, Snow Rugby, Snowshoe Softball and more.

For more information: www.saranaclakewintercarnival.com.

• In East Meredith, the Ice Harvest Festival merges winter fun with history for a day of ice cutting and sculpting. There’s also a hot soup buffet and sleigh rides, as well as demonstrations of vintage trades.

For more information, www.hanfordmills.org.

Lake George Winter Carnival takes place each weekend in February, so if you miss one weekend, just catch it the next. Though not rife with show-stopping activities, it hits the right balance of wholesome fun and breaking up the winter doldrums–though the Outhouse Race is pretty wacky.

For more information: www.lakegeorgewintercarnival.com.

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