“Winter Realms,” one of two new attractions coming to Lake George in 2024, will open Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, the same weekend that Lake George celebrates “Lite Up the Village.”
The new attraction was developed by the creative entrepreneurs who brought Ice Castles to Lake George in 2022 and 2023.
Ice Castles was an immediate success its first winter, drawing tens of thousands of visitors to Lake George at a time of year when crowds are sparse. But attendance dropped sharply in 2023. The attraction’s novelty dimmed, enthusiasm flagged and its season was a truncated one as the winter’s mild, rainy weather took its toll.
Winter Realms “is more weather-resistant winter experience,” a press release states.
According to Jared Hennigsen, vice president of operations for Ice Castles, the company “spent 18 months, working internally, to develop an event that will feature some of the best components of Ice Castles but will be less susceptible to weather.”
“We are utilizing cutting edge technology that will allow us to create snow-ambient temperatures, something which is really exciting,” said Hennigsen.
Among other things, that technology will make possible a weather-hardened ice skating rink, similar to Rockefeller Center’s.
“We’ll also present the work of world-class ice sculptors and install illuminated walks and tunnels, lit by thousands and thousands of lights, created by specialists in that field,” said Hennigsen.
In addition to the skating rink, sculpture park and light displays, Winter Realms will feature igloos, a Santa’s Village and a variety of other attractions.
“And we’ll bring back the Polar Ice Bar, which was a popular feature last year,” said Hennigsen.
Winter Realms was awarded financial support by Warren County as part of a public-private effort to foster year-round tourism and boost employment.
“Without that money, it wouldn’t have been possible for us to present Winter Realms,” said Hennigsen. “It’s a big risk for our little company, so we are very appreciative.
It’s rare, in my experience, to have advocates willing to make a truly world class attraction possible.”
Winter Realms will be open Thursday to Sunday through March 3. Tickets, priced at $17 per adult, can be purchased at winterrealms.com.
According to Robert Blais, Lake George’s Director of Special Events, tickets for local residents will be sold at a discount during the attraction’s first weekend.
Blais said he hoped its grand opening on November 24
“will induce folks to come to Lake George on Friday but stay for the weekend.”
Lite Up the Village’s activities on Saturday, November 25 will start at 2:30 pm and include a holiday concert, carriage rides, pony rides and children’s games.
At 4:30 pm, more than 3,000 people are expected to gather in Shepard Park and along Canada Street to witness the illumination of 5,000 lights, musical performances, contests, a Christmas parade and fireworks show. Following the tree lighting at 6 pm and the parade, children will be invited to visit the Lake George Volunteer Fire Department to meet Santa Claus.
All events are free and are subject to cancellation if weather intervenes. For more information, go to the Village’s Facebook page.
Lake George’s other new winter attraction, “Winter Dreams,” opens to the public December 8 at Fort William Henry and will operate through March 31. Tickets for Winter Dreams can be purchased at LakeGeorgeWinterDreams.com.
“By early December, Lake George will be the home of some of the most imaginative and memorable family fun experiences in the Northeast,” said Vincent Crocitto II, Lake George’s Deputy Supervisor and president of the Warren County Winter Coalition. “We look forward to bringing people together here throughout the holiday season and into the new year.”