LAKE PLACID - Members of the Lake Placid Business Association continue to plan for the holiday season and the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, by promoting a holiday decorating contest and an Olympic Spirit campaign.
Updates on the initiatives were discussed at the LPBA's latest meeting, held Nov. 12 at the Lake Placid Beach House.
This will be the sixth year for the annual Lake Placid Holiday Village Stroll, featuring live music, arts and crafts workshops, holiday shopping deals, a skating party, the Jingle Bell Run and the village tree-lighting ceremony. It will be held the first weekend in December, from Friday, Dec. 6 to Sunday, Dec. 8.
Mirror Lake in the village of Lake Placid (Photo by Andy Flynn)
"That was kind of a quiet weekend," LPBA President Lori Fitzgerald said by phone on Nov. 18. "So we were really trying to encourage visitation during that weekend to give a boost to the hotels and businesses."
As director of marketing and brand management at the High Peaks Resort for the past three years, Fitzgerald sees firsthand how the Village Stroll has successfully attracted visitors to Lake Placid for holiday shopping and fun.
"We sell hundreds of packages every year to hotel guests," Fitzgerald said, adding that the High Peaks Resort alone sells three to four times more packages now than it did a few years ago.
Fitzgerald has witnessed a lot of local participation with residents from nearby villages who make Lake Placid a day-trip destination during the Village Stroll. But she's also seen visitors who are making the event a family tradition.
"Last year at the skating party, I was talking to a couple who were there with their son and daughter, who were there with their children," Fitzgerald said. "So it was a multigenerational family event, and they had come year after year after year."
People can view the full schedule of events and map online at www.HolidayVillageStroll.com.
Holiday, Olympic decorating
Business Association officials are also promoting the Lake Placid Village Holiday Decorating Contest Committee's annual contest. This year's winners will be announced at the Holiday Village Stroll Christmas tree-lighting celebration at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 in Mid's Park on Main Street.
Those who wish to have their residential and commercial properties judged in the competition should have decorations in place and lighted by 4 p.m. from Dec. 2 to 6. One prize will be awarded for each of the following business categories: Best of Show, Retail Windows, Civic Properties and Churches, Resorts, Motels (including Inns and B&Bs), Olympic Theme, Commercial (other than lodging) and Best New Display. The residential category will have one award each for Classic Elegance, Children's Delight and Most Creative.
A panel of nine to 12 judges selects the properties whose decorations represent the best of Lake Placid. Judges are volunteer representatives from the LPBA, the Lake Placid Beautification Association and the Lake Placid Garden Club, as well as the community at large. The committee is supported by staff from the Lake Placid Convention and Visitors Bureau, which provides funding for the annual awards.
For more information - and for those who would like to participate and their property is located outside the area roughly bounded by Old Military Road, Route 73 to the ski jumps, Saranac Avenue or past Cobble Hill Road - contact Faith Brown at 518-523-9246.
Members of the LPBA also encourage businesses to decorate their storefronts with Olympic-inspired displays from now until the end of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
"Obviously, we always encourage everybody to decorate their storefronts and businesses so that the town looks festive overall," Fitzgerald said. "That's what the holiday decorating is designed to do. This year, we worked with them to add an Olympic category because it's an Olympic year."
They would like people to subscribe to the following lighting scheme: Start out with white lights in November and December, add red lights after Christmas, and add blue lights when the Sochi Olympics begin on Feb. 7.
"So that the entire town is lit up red, white and blue when the Olympics get here," Fitzgerald said. "In an ideal world, we would ride up and down Main Street, and there would be flags from dozens of countries hanging in each shop window or each business window. They could do that in a holiday theme and keep it up, or they could just replace their holiday theme later with some sort of Olympic theme."
Early December will be a busy time for Lake Placid. There will be a CAN/AM youth hockey tournament Dec. 5-8, during the same weekend as the Holiday Village Stroll. Plus, the Olympic Sports Complex at Mount Van Hoevenberg will be hosting International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation World Cup races Dec. 10-15. That means a lot of visitors, including impressionable international media staffers.
"There is a lot of attention focused here because we are sort of the iconic Olympic village, the place where the Olympics still live on and on and on," Fitzgerald said. "It's an important part of our legacy and who we are, and so it's important that when the Olympics are coming, that when you enter this town, regardless of which direction you come from, you immediately realize that you're in a place that really embraces its Olympic history."
During the LPBA's annual meeting on Nov. 12, the slate of officers for 2014 was unanimously approved: Lori Fitzgerald, president; Jill Cardinale, vice president; Lori Staats, treasurer; and Wayne Johnston, secretary. In addition, Nita Holley and Tim Robinson were approved as members of the board of directors. The next meeting of will be at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 at the Lake Placid Beach House.