6 Lake George Festivals You Don't Want to Miss


For decades, Lake George in New York State's Southern Adirondacks has been a popular summer vacation destination. The area boasts beautiful beaches, water sports, amusement parks, hiking trails and campgrounds. The tourist industry in the region grew by centering on summer activities, but in recent years, the season has expanded into what locals call the "shoulder" seasons. The Village of Lake George, located at the southern tip of the 32-mile long lake, has become a hub of year-round activity, drawing visitors to festivals that span all four seasons.
1. The Adirondack Wine & Food Festival
The Adirondack Wine & Food Festival attracts wine connoisseurs and foodies from all over the Northeast.
The Adirondack Wine & Food Festival attracts wine connoisseurs and foodies from all over the Northeast. Photo credit: Gillian Burdett

Hosted by the Adirondack Winery, the festival features craft beverages and locally produced foods. The price of admission includes a souvenir wine glass and free samples of wine, hard ciders and spirits from dozens of New York State producers. Foodies will enjoy sampling locally produced cheeses, artisan baked goods and other gourmet foods. The two-day festival is held the last weekend in June at the Charles R. Wood Festival Commons on Westbrook Road in the Village of Lake George.

2. The Lake George Music Festival

Classical music takes center stage at the Lake George Music Festival each August. Photo credit: Gillian Burdett

The sounds of strings, woodwinds, percussion and brass rise from venues throughout Lake George Village for 11 days each summer. This celebration of classical music draws musicians from around the globe. Visitors to the Lake George Music Festival are welcome to attend the open rehearsals, chamber music and full-symphony concerts, all free of charge (donations appreciated.) The Festival holds a special children's concert and has an "instrument petting zoo" where kids may interact with musicians and instruments.

3. Jazz at the Lake
Each fall, the Lake George Arts Projects brings an eclectic group of jazz musicians from across the country to the Shepard Park amphitheatre for a weekend of serious jazz. The Shepard Park venue offers an intimate outdoor setting on the shore of Lake George. All Jazz Fest concerts are free.

4. American Music Festival for the Lake
New Riders of the Purple Sage perform at the American Music Festival for the Lake, September 2014.
New Riders of the Purple Sage perform at the American Music Festival for the Lake, September 2014. Photo credit: Gillian Burdett

The music is non-stop at the American Music Festival, which is held the last weekend in September when the area's fall foliage is at its most brilliant, National acts combined with regional favorites perform into the night. Saturday is dedicated to rock music; Sunday mellows out with a mix of jam bands, country and roots. The festival is held at the Charles R. Wood Festival Commons on Westbrook Road in Lake George Village.

5. Lake George Oktoberfest
On Columbus Day weekend, traffic along Canada Street (NY State Route 9) is diverted to side streets, and a giant tent, housing a bier garden and stage, fills the roadway in front of Shepard Park. Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, the sounds of oompah bands and the smells of sauerkraut and bratwurst fill the block. The street party includes games, competitions, craft and merchandise vendors and steins of cold beer served up by the Adirondack Pub and Brewery. Admission to the festival is free.

6. Lake George Winter Carnival
Opening day of the Lake George Winter Carnival features a parade up Canada Street. Photo credit: Gillian Burdett

Most winters, Lake George freezes solid and provides a wide-open expanse of ice and snow for winter fun. Each weekend in February, The Lake George Winter Carnival hosts motorcycle, car and outhouse (yes, outhouse) races on the lake. Other activities include snowmobile and ATV poker runs, food cook-offs, children's games and dog sled rides. Admission and parking is free.

Gillian Burdett is a freelance writer based in the Lake George region of New York's Adirondack Park. When not in her writing studio, she is out in the field reporting on activities and events as the Lake George Examiner.