Two parades are in the works for Lake Placid and Saranac Lake to honor local Olympic athletes who will return home throughout the next three weeks.
In Lake Placid
Perched in the bucket of a fire truck, Andrew Weibrecht, center, brother Ethan Weibrecht, left, and Andrew’s then-girlfriend (now wife) Denja Rand enjoy the ride down Main Street, Lake Placid in front of hundreds of supporters on Feb. 26, 2010. Weibrecht is showing the crowd the bronze medal he won in the super-G race during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
In 2010, the village had a hastily organized parade for alpine skier Andrew Weibrecht of Lake Placid, who won a bronze medal in super-G at that year's Olympics and the silver medal in super-G at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Mayor Craig Randall said he expects to have a bigger turnout this year.
Randall said it's too early to know a concrete date for the event. The village plans to partner with ORDA and the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.
"I think it will all come together," Randall said. "I know we will have the same or higher turnout."
In 2010, the parade started at the Olympic Center and went down Main Street to the Mirror Lake Inn, which is owned by Weibrecht's parents Ed and Lisa.
Jay Rand, executive director of New York Ski Educational Foundation and father-in-law of Andrew Weibrecht, said honoring the local athletes again is a great idea.
Rand said he doesn't know exactly when Weibrecht will return but expects him to come back in about two weeks.
"Last time the parade was enjoyed by the entire community," Rand said. "It's such a well-deserved honor for Andrew moving up the ladder from bronze to silver. He almost got the gold."
In Saranac Lake
The Saranac Lake Women's Civic Chamber along with the village of Saranac Lake, Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce, and the Olympic Regional Development Authority are beginning to plan a parade in Saranac Lake.
Kelly Morgan, a member of the Women's Civic Chamber, has been reaching out to the athletes and getting the scoop on when they will return back to the United States.
"I've been in touch with almost all the athletes. We think it will be at the end of March," Morgan said.
Morgan said Lake Placid biathlete Lowell Bailey gave her a thumbs-up through a Facebook message. Biathlete Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake said she was excited for the parade. Biathlete Tim Burke of Paul Smiths and luger Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake are also expected to attend, Morgan said.
It's still early in the scheduling process, Morgan said. One slight delay is expected due to some athletes attending the World Cup events in Norway, and some have been invited to visit the White House.
Morgan said the parade plans to take the same established route it did in 2010 after the Vancouver Winter Olympics: Broadway up to Main Street to the Harrietstown Town Hall. That year, eight local Olympians rode a float during the event. Nordic combined skier Bill Demong of Vermontville, who won a gold and silver medal that year, gave a speech on behalf of the other local Olympians and lit a mini-cauldron at the town hall.
Morgan said she came up with the idea for a Olympic parade in 2010 during Saranac Lake's Winter Carnival at the Lake Clear Lodge, during the Grand Marshal dinner.
"I said to a friend, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we could save the float and do a parade for the Olympians.'" Morgan said.