Making Tracks – SnoCade 2019

Residents of Indian Lake get ready for their annual SnoCade celebration.

Published in the Lake Champlain Weekly
February 13, 2019

By Joshua Miner

Every year the North Country settles in for another long, cold winter, with many bundling up and hibernating in their homes. In Indian Lake, the deep freeze of winter means another fun-filled SnoCade, a 10-day event which brings the community together for a slew of activities and competitions beginning February 15th. While the rest of the North Country find their own ways to keep cabin fever at bay, Indian Lake has found their own cure in SnoCade, giving locals and visitors alike plenty of reason to look forward to the frigid month of February.

SnoCade started roughly 10 years ago as a small winter festival for the residents of Indian Lake, explains Josselyn Bennett, activities and events coordinator for the Town of Indian Lake. There was a parade, some occasional fireworks and the selecting of a king and queen. Over the years, the event evolved into what it is today, a week-long event with daily schedules full of activities for people of all ages.

The event kicks off Friday, February 15th with a Happy Hour at 4pm at the Indian Lake Restaurant, followed by a Tricky Tray raffle event benefiting the ILCS Travel Club. There will also be a showing of Marry Poppins Returns that night and throughout the week, as well as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

SnoCade gets into full swing the following day, with breakfast at the Fire Hall, Friends of the Library Book and Cookie sale and Winter Wonderland Craft show at the ILCS Gym. Multiple days also feature a story time for kids at the Indian Lake Library.

One of the most popular events, the Snowmobile Time Trials, is a ¼ mile timed run on Adirondack Lake and put on by the Indian Lake Snowarriors. An entry fee of $5 will allow you two runs in the competition.

“It’s really fun [to] just kind of get out there, open up, see what you can do,” says Bennett.

That night, Skiers and Snowboarders will descend the Indian Lake Ski Hill in a Torchlight Parade, with everyone gathered around a giant bonfire to watch the fireworks display. The event is not to be missed, with Bennett saying this is one of the most popular events of the week

“That’s enjoyed by everyone. Pretty much the whole town comes out,” Bennett says, as they celebrate together and watch the parade and fireworks. “It’s a good way to kick off the event.”

Local Tim Pine has been involved in putting the event on over the years, says Bennett, going so far as to provide skis and snowboards for kids to take part in the parade.

“He’s been really great hosting the Torchlight Parade every year. He gets local volunteers, gets a lot of kids involved,” Bennett says of Pine, whose generosity has allowed kids without skis the opportunity to take part. “They get to fly down our mountain and with the torches light up the sky, light up the town, and get everyone pumped and excited for the week.”

Finishing at the bonfire, SnoCade provides free skating for anyone interested after the parade. Bennett said the skating is open to everyone throughout the week.

On Sunday, there will be Kitty Kat Races sponsored by Katrina and Bruce Wells, who set up a racetrack and bring a couple of Kitty Kats to be used by those who don’t have one. Bennett says the event has been a great success over the last couple years, with those in the community coming together to make sure that everyone gets a chance to have a fun time. The races are split into age groups, with trophies being awarded at the conclusion of the races.

“They have a couple of Kitty Kats that they bring,” Bennett says of the Wells. “Then also just people in the community [whose] children have the children’s snowmobiles, they’ll bring them and everyone’s actually really good about sharing. The kids just have a great time, they get to win a trophy, they get to ride on a racetrack. [For] some of the kids, this is really the only opportunity that they get to ride on a Kitty Kat, so they absolutely love it.”

The day also features a cardboard sled workshop for kids who want help building their cardboard sled for the competition on Monday. A Boy Scout troop from Manhattan will be volunteering their time for the event, teaching the younger kids how to build the best sleds. As one of the troop leaders vacations in the area, the scouts had taken part in a few of the previous SnoCade celebrations. As Scouts, they reached out to Bennett to see what they could do to help Indian Lake and were more than happy to volunteer their time for the sled building workshop. Through events like SnoCade, Bennett said there is an opportunity to bridge the gap between those who live in Indian Lake, and those who come to visit.

“When I told them about the Cardboard Sled Race, they were all about it,” Bennett says. “They want to help with that [and] they’re interested in coming to a lot of the other events and volunteering within the community as well. So we’re super excited to have them here.”

The sled competition promises to be a popular event for kids in Indian Lake, with prizes being awarded for fastest sled, best use of cardboard, most creative design and best wipe out.

Monday also features a cold water rescue off Chain Lake Road, put on by the Indian Lake Volunteer Fire Department, Indian Lake Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Department of Environmental Conservation. The demonstration serves to educate attendees in the proper way to rescue someone who has fallen through ice into freezing cold water. Bennett says in the past, they also demonstrated how to rescue animals.

“A lot of people here, they might see a dog or a deer or something out on the lake, and they maybe want to try and help or don’t know what to do. So they go over all these different demonstrations on the correct safety precautions for it,” Bennet explains. “It’s very unique and something that you really don’t get anywhere else. But in this area, I would say it’s needed to have that kind of education.”

On Tuesday, there will be a guided snowshoe hike at Pashley Falls. Those interested can contact Nick LaScala at lascaln@clarkson.edu to pre-register. Bennett says the hike is a moderate one, and everyone is welcome to join. Later that night, there will be a SnoCade Starscape at the Indian Lake Theater at 7 pm. Along with a lecture there will be an observation of the night sky, identifying the stars and constellations that can be seen during this time of year.

That morning there will also be a Community Knit-In at the Byron Park Building hosted by the North Country Crafters. Every year they collaborate to make a community quilt, with this particular event focused on helping attendees develop a new skill.

“We actually had a local girl, she was at one of my events recently, and she was asking me if we were having it again this year,” Bennett recalls. “She learned how to knit and was able to make her own scarf and her own mittens and she took it back and taught her family how to knit. It was really cool. Especially someone so young getting interested in something like that, rather than ‘Oh, I want to sit at home and play video games’, learning a new practical skill. That’s awesome.”

Wednesday features a snow tubing trip to Oak Mountain for four hours of tubing along with a pizza party.

“We have a lot of local kids that are excited to go,” Bennett says. “They have a program where they teach about how they make the snow and everything, so we’re hoping we can fit that in as well.”

Those interested in having their child take part in the trip can contact Bennett at (518)-648-5828.

This year features a Murder Mystery by Gem Radio Theatre on Thursday, with the theme of Girl’s Night Out. Held in the Indian Lake Theater, the audience will become real-life detectives, using their intuition and detective skills to figure out who among them is the killer.

“It’s a very interactive show,” Bennett explains. “Someone is mysteriously murdered and they have to figure it out. There’s an intermission, they’ll get free hors d’oeuvres, and they’ll actually get to interview the cast, kind of like a live game of clue, and try and figure out who the murderer was.”

Bennett says every year of SnoCade brings something new, with this year’s event featuring the brand-new Family Feud event. Based on the popular television game show, families are encouraged to sign up to compete against other families. If there is a particular family your clan wants to feud with, reservations can be made to ensure you go head to head with your rivals.

“It looks just like the actual show on TV. So your family will get called down, you get to run up on stage and play a couple rounds of the game, and then you get to play for a prize,” Bennett explains of the event. “With it being such a small community, a lot of families are like ‘Oh, we want to feud with our best friends.’ It being a small community it definitely adds to it.”

The final weekend features some of the other most popular attractions, starting with the Ice Fishing Derby on the final Saturday morning. While it had been held on Adirondack Lake in past years, this year’s event will be the first held on Indian Lake itself. As the number of participants has grown, organizers found it necessary to change locations this year. Hosted by the Indian Lake and Blue Mountain Fish & Game Association, this year’s derby boasts top prizes of $500 in each category.

Later that day is one of the longest-running events, the Snowshoe Softball Tournament, coordinated by Liz Cannan and benefitting the National Kidney Foundation. In need of a kidney transplant 10 years ago, Cannan organized the event to raise money for her cause. Now 10 years and a new kidney later, Cannan continues to see the event thrive.

“It’s a really great event for an amazing cause and people have so much fun,” Bennett says of the softball tournament.

Those interested can find the full Snocade schedule at https://www.adirondackexperience.com/events/snocade-in-indian-lake.

“I think SnoCade is just a great way to get out and kind of reconnect with your community. By February, everyone’s got that cabin fever,” as Bennett jokes people start to wonder why they live somewhere where it hurts their face to go outside. “We really celebrate the nature and the beauty of what we actually have here, and realize this place is a wonderful place to be. The nature of it, the community, everyone around, it really gives you an appreciation for what you have.”

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