LAKE GEORGE – The village of Lake George is hoping to lure people in next summer with a new two-day fishing tournament that could offer $15,000 in prizes and a 10-week Friday night series similar to Albany’s riverside Alive at Five.
Mayor Robert Blais said he has been talking with the promoter of Alive at Five and looking at how other municipalities use their parks to generate revenue. Shepard Park, where the lakeside spin on the Alive at Five concept would be held, hosts numerous musical acts throughout the summer, but the twist with this one would be a tent where alcohol would be sold.
Jim Anderson of WillJam, the Alive at Five promoter, is offering to help the village at no cost.
Anderson said the budget would be geared toward attracting regional acts at first, but with a goal of bringing in national and international names the way Alive at Five does. Alive at Five started in 1990.
“Shepard Park is a good location, so there’s no limit to what you could do there. But I think the wise thing is to start out with just the best regional acts and then see how it does and see how we can grow it,” Anderson said.
He said the concept is to give people something to do after work. The event would last from 5 to 8 p.m., ending in time for attendees to check out local shopping and restaurants, and for people to follow the bands to a local establishment where they would be booked the rest of the night. Blais said they’re discussing a flier that would be updated each weekend.
“The other purpose of it is to get people who come into the village on one of these days they’re here and keep them here,” Blais said.
He said it would be “a nice welcome” to long distance vacationers, and hopes it would attract people from the Capital Region, too.
“People would be able to bring their dogs on leashes,” Blais said. “There would be a band and a beer tent set up in the park and food would be served by local restaurants. … And a percentage of gross receipts from the sales would go back to the village.”
He said he’d also talk to Price Chopper about getting bounce houses. The grocery store chain had bounce houses in the park this year and raised $2,000 in donations for the Save Lake George Partnership, he said.
Blais said the village will talk to bars and restaurants to gage their interest in participating. One idea would be to have each bar or restaurant staff the beer tent on a different night.
Admission would be free, so any revenue the village hopes to gain would likely be from advertisements on the flier and a cut of the revenue from the beer tent. Businesses may also donate prizes for a raffle, with proceeds going to the village.
Although the event would coincide with the traditional happy hour for many establishments, Blais said he spoke to two bar owners who didn’t have a problem with it and would like to participate.
The village could opt to host the beer tent and collect all revenue from it, but that would require staffing and licensing, Blais said.
“I didn’t think that was a smart thing to do,” he said.
WillJam and Improv Records Inc. are also planning the Adirondack Independence Festival for the Charles R. Wood festival space from July 2 to 5. The budget for that is about $80,000, according to the request for occupancy tax funding, with $50,000 reserved for talent. The village approved $3,000 for the Independence Festival, and the town approved $2,000 for it. Organizers are also seeking $15,000 in occupancy tax from the county, Blais said. Anderson said it was too early to reveal acts being sought for that festival.
The first King George Fishing Derby from July 10 to 12 is a collaboration by the Save Lake George partnership committee and the Lake George Fishing Alliance.
“We’re trying to come up with $15,000 in prize money to put on a professional first class fishing derby here the week after the Fourth of July, which is somewhat of a down week,” Blais said.
Proceeds would be donated to the Save partnership, which has helped the Lake George Park Commission with the mandatory boat inspection program.
He said organizers reached out to people who plan major fishing derbies at other places, such as Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, and in the Finger Lakes region.
The Village Board at its Monday meeting approved a $2,000 occupancy tax request for the event. Blais abstained from the vote. The Town Board approved $2,000 in occupancy tax funding for the fishing derby Monday as well.
The lakewide event will award prizes for catches of three species: lake trout, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass. There will be a junior category for those younger than 16. Registration will be $40, and $30 for the youth competition.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Village Trustee John Root.
The weekend’s itinerary will use the new Charles R. Wood festival space for a trade show featuring national companies involved in the fishing industry, live music, barbecue and other attractions.
The Fort William Henry Hotel & Conference Center will be the “headquarters,” Blais said.
He said the derby will be on Saturday and Sunday, but Friday will be the start of events and early registration to attract people to stay in Lake George the entire weekend.
Boaters who arrive on Friday can have an on-site free inspection and launch to berth their boats at the village docks. Both Mossy Point and the new Million Dollar Beach launches will be used. Weigh stations will be located in the north and south basins, according to a news release.