SARANAC LAKE — The Winter Carnival fireworks show scheduled for Saturday has been canceled by the village and the Winter Carnival Committee because too many attendees at Saturday’s Winter Carnival opening fireworks show and lighting of the Ice Palace event did not follow social distancing mandates and rules to stay in their cars, village Manager John Sweeney said Monday.

The committee’s plan for the park-and-view fireworks to avoid spread of the COVID-19 virus was fine, Sweeney said, but too many people gathered on foot and did not socially distance.

“We couldn’t mitigate the congregation of the crowds,” Sweeney said. “With that reasoning ... we’re all in agreement to cancel the closing. … Winter Carnival is in agreement with it.”

Sweeney said he was told crowds of 70 to 100 people gathered at multiple locations to watch the show. He was told volunteers and police officers approached these groups several times and asked them to disperse, to no avail.

“I wish people would understand that the rules are in place. ... It’s unfortunate,” Sweeney said. “I do want to appreciate and thank the people that followed the rules.”

He said everyone hoped they could hold the second fireworks show, saying it would feel like a return to normal. But he said the New York Forward rules cannot allow that.

In November the village board agreed to donated the $10,000 fireworks contract it would have used on its canceled Fourth of July fireworks show to fund the Winter Carnival fireworks. Sweeney said that money was likely used for Saturday’s fireworks.

Several bars and restaurants downtown were busy with customers Saturday before and after the fireworks.

Saturday’s show was synced up with music broadcast over FM radio, so people could listen in their cars.

After the crescendo of the show, an onslaught of booming fireworks set to the techno song “The Phantom of the Opera” by Harajuku, the assembled cars again beeped their approval before driving off into the night.

The fireworks, filmed by drone by Jordan Craig, can be seen at

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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