The 39th running of the Empire State Winter Games, presented by Community Bank and supported by I LOVE NY, will bring the spirit and excitement of traditional and adventure winter sports competition back to the North Country and Adirondack regions of New York state.
From Jan. 31 - Feb. 3, over 2,300 athletes of all ages from across the state and beyond are expected to participate in more than 30 sports, giving these amateur athletes the chance to compete on a world-class stage.
The opening ceremony on Jan. 31 at 6:30 p.m. is free and open to the public, and will be held in the Herb Brooks Arena in the Lake Placid Olympic Center. A live performance by the high-flying aerial and acrobatic duo, Elsie Smith and Serenity Smith Forchion of the circus-inspired theatrical act Nimble Arts, will entertain the audience and set the tone for the ESWG as not only a competition but a celebration.
The arena will begin to glow as all of the athletes parade in wearing LED bracelets that are timed to the music, a new addition to this year's event. Spoiler alert: one bracelet will turn a different color than the rest. The wearer of that bracelet will be given the honor of lighting the cauldron, signifying the opening of the Games.
Olympic ski jumper Nick Farrell is the keynote speaker and Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall will welcome the athletes.
As the headquarters for the Games, Lake Placid will once again welcome the public to the ESWG Village, which was relocated to Mid's Park on Main Street, drawing crowds to the heart of Lake Placid's downtown district.
The family-friendly village is open Friday and Saturday from noon - 7 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Award ceremonies will be held there daily, along with free hot chocolate, s'mores, music, and games.
After the resounding success of last year's torch relay, organizers announced this year's version is expanded and will now include two routes — one beginning in Buffalo and one from New York City — that will meet in Malone, thus uniting the state of New York before traveling together to the opening ceremony.