An annual event that draws thousands to kick off the summer season in Lake George has been moved back a month.
Americade, which fills the Southern Adirondacks with bikers from across the country the first week of June, has been moved to July 21st through the 25th.
Americade organizer Christian Dutcher announced the move on a conference call with reporters Wednesday.
“While we’re making this declaration of July 21st to 25th, it’s entirely possible that we don’t do it.”
He said the event will follow social distancing guidelines. The five days of events also will not feature large, organized group rides.
While the Americade event is centered in the Town and Village of Lake George, surrounding communities throughout the Adirondack region welcome riders.
Dan Durkee, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the Warren County Public Health Department, said much of the enforcement of social distancing will be up the Americade organizers.
“I think a lot of it will depend, too, on where we are as a state, in terms of what are people going to be allowed to do and what aren’t they going to be allowed to do,” said Durkee.
Depending on the weather, Dutcher is expecting between 50 and 75 percent of normal attendance.
“It’s going to be a smaller Americade, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s beautiful in July and we might find some people that come in July that didn’t come to the June event,” said Dutcher.
Another Lake George event that has been postponed and not yet rescheduled is the Adirondack Wine and Food festival.
Gina Mintzer, Executive Director of the Lake George Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is beginning to examine how to advertise the region and provide information for potential summer visitors in a time of uncertainty.
“So far it’s been all cancellations or postponements. Now we’ve got this particular June major event who was able to find a date in July that could work for the destination, meaning the space available and that sort of thing, but also for all of their vendors who mainly come from the West Coast. And, how does this event fit in with all of the other similar events that attract a similar audience?”
Mintzer predicts the number of visitors to return to more typical levels later in the season, and said it may be possible that those annual visitors who couldn’t visit early in the year may make their trips in September and into October.
Durkee says the county health department is waiting for guidelines from the state regarding camping. Campgrounds in the Lake George region bring flocks of tourists in the summer season.
Durkee said locals are expressing some “trepidation” as the summer nears.
“I know a couple of concerns we’ve heard from locals is, ‘Hey, you know, nothing is going to be open because we’re not allowed to be open, so how do we accommodate these individuals now who would normally be going out to and maybe grabbing a bite to eat at a restaurant or may be visiting an attraction? What do we do now if they’re spending more of their times in our towns using the grocery stores and the supermarkets?’ Which, again, happens during the summer, but who knows what the level would look like.”
Christian Dutcher of Americade says his organization will communicate with county, town, village, and state officials to ensure what’s normally the annual kickoff to summer is safe and successful, even if a bit delayed this year.
“We’re all in this together and we’re all trying to make a safe and good Americade happen in late July.”