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ESWG introduces central village to the mix

December 12, 2017
By JUSTIN A. LEVINE - Sports Writer , Lake Placid News

SARANAC LAKE - The Empire State Winter Games will roll into the North Country in February, and while utilizing more than a dozen venues from Lake Placid to Malone, the ESWG will sport a new and improved central village for athletes and spectators.

The ESWG kicks off with its opening ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. in Lake Placid that will showcase two live music acts as well as the parade of athletes.

In addition to more live music this year, ESWG Executive Director Tait Wardlaw said he thinks the central village in Lake Placid will entice a lot of locals and athletes' families.

"The Empire State Games have evolved a little bit in terms of what it delivers to its participants and their families, spectators and the community, to offer a little bit more of a four-day festival spirit," Wardlaw said Monday. "Not only is your kid participating in something, but you and your whole family can have fun doing a bunch of other things before and after that specific event.

"The response to the quality of the venues is very high every year," he said. "[But] there was no common thread to give a central place to the games. We had a modest central village last year in Mid's Park [in Lake Placid] but this year it's a much bigger to do, with live music every day.

"We have to be sure that we're doing more things to get more people to come up here and feel great about doing it and want to return the next year."

Wardlaw said the number of registrants is up so far this year, but added that most registrations each year occur from mid-December until about a week before the event begins.

The games take place at a number of venues, including all of the Olympic venues in Lake Placid, as well as at Whiteface Mountain, Titus Mountain and both Dewey and Pisgah mountains in Saranac Lake. Tupper Lake will host women's hockey, while Paul Smith's and the Visitor Interpretive Center will be home to snowshoe races.

Ski orienteering will be at both Cascade Ski Center outside of Lake Placid and at Mount Van Hoevenberg, which will also host biathlon, nordic skiing, bobsled, luge and skeleton. All of the events are free and open to the public, except at the Olympic venues, which will charge an entrance fee. An Olympic Passport can be purchased that will provide access to those events.

Wardlaw said he's also excited about the torch relay, which will go from New York City to Lake Placid.

"We've created this torch relay to, of course, bring attention to the Empire State Winter Games," he said, "but also to help underscore one of the basic premises of the Empire State Winter Games which is 'It's winter, get outside and play and have fun.'"

For more information, including a full schedule and registration information, go to



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