Winter’s Best Bets

Lights on the Lake in Liverpool.
Lights on the Lake in Liverpool.

From big shows to community concerts to the 40th anniversary of Lake Placid’s 1980 Winter Games: a bit of everything for everyone

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

With so many fun things to do during the winter, make sure you don’t miss out on these events before the season ends.

Attend a big show

Many famous names in entertainment are coming to the area, regardless of the genre you enjoy. Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, for example, will appear in Albany (Dec. 4,, Rochester (Dec. 6, and Syracuse (Dec. 15, There’s also The Coasters, The Drifters, & The Platters in Rochester (Dec. 14, and Syracuse (Dec. 15,, plus Dancing With the Stars in Rochester (Jan. 14, Grammy-nominated  Celtic Woman comes to Syracuse (March 22, as does Riverdance (March 24, Check the events calendar in this issue of the Winter Guide for many more.

Hear a community concert

Culture doesn’t have to mean a big-ticket event. The Rochester Philharmonic Holiday Concert at Newark High School (Dec. 6, offers an excellent example, with tickets from $5 to $12, as do concerts offered by Auburn Chamber Orchestra  (Dec. 8, Feb. 29, for a mere $5 suggested donation.

Attend a festival

While events such as Syracuse Winterfest attract thousands over the course of several days and offer many things to do, a small town festival run by a civic or religious group provides a more bite-sized experience. If you have small children or mobility issues, it’s much easier to navigate. Plus, you’ll probably see friends there.

See a lights display

Lights on the Lake in Liverpool, which runs through the season ( provides two miles of bright lights along Onondaga Lake. In Western New York, Hamburg’s Fairgrounds Festival of Lights ( also features a similar event. However, other communities at least have a tree lighting ceremony and many lit-up homes. Take the family for a walk on a winter’s evening to see the “show” put on by your neighbors.

Visit Lake Placid

This is the 40th anniversary of Lake Placid’s hosting of the 1980 Winter Games. Why not go to Lake Placid during the 2020 Empire State Winter Games (begins Jan. 26, You can watch more than 2,100 athletes compete, plus tour the Olympic Sports Complex and see artifacts from both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Games.

Go to a maple farm

During New York’s Maple Weekends (March 21, 22, 28,29,, many farms that aren’t normally open to the public open their doors to the public. Show your children how syrup is made, sample maple products and take home a jug and some maple candy. Some farms also offer pancake breakfasts and children’s activities.