The Farmer’s Almanac predicted a cold, snowy winter, and so far it has been just that in the Fulton Chain region of the Adirondacks, which made for a great Snodeo and a great start to the snowmobile season, according to Mike Farmer, publicity director for the Town of Webb.
Old Forge hosted the annual Snodeo last weekend at its North Street pavilion.
Conventional wisdom seemed to indicate that snowmobilers would spend more time on the trails and less at the Snodeo venue, and that did happen to an extent, thanks to the snow that blanketed the trails, according to Farmer.
But Snodeo still proved solid, he said.
“It was very cold, so yes, people did get out and ride, but they weren’t out long. They would return to the pavilion to warm up. It actually helped even out the crowds over the weekend, especially on Saturday,” Farmer said.
“Most of the vendors I talked to thought it was a very good show. Spending was down slightly for some, but a steady flow had them feeling fine at the end of the day.”
As for trail conditions, Farmer said he heard only good remarks, thanks to the quality of the grooming.
“The locals told me the trails were pretty good, and all the visitors I talked to were raving,” he said.
“The trail crew did an amazing job of preparing the trails, which was great because riders were chomping at the bit—they wanted to get out there,” Farmer said.
And that sets up the whole season, according to Farmer.
“The word is out that Old Forge is open for business.”
And the ripples were felt elsewhere, not just at the event on North Street.
There were parties hosted locally by the major snowmobile manufacturers, all of which boast dealerships.
“Those are always well attended; there is such brand loyalty for the various snowmobile makes,” Farmer said.
“The local restaurants and bars did well too, and so did many of the shops. Two of them described the weekend as ‘fantastic,’’’ he said.
That’s the design of all Central Adirondack Association sponsored events, not just Snodeo, according to Farmer.
“The events are to draw people here—a certain market—for something specific, like snowmobiling. Then to create a ripple effect, a spill-over that goes right down Main Street.”
This helps establish Old Forge and the entire Fulton Chain region as a potential destination, to visitors all over the northeast.
“It’s nice that the events make money. Specifically, it’s a lot easier dealing with the CAA board when that happens; especially with the signature events,” Farmer said.
“Because these events are meant to support all the other small events, ones that never make money. For instance, the Community Pride Day—that’s not a revenue generator. But it’s important for the community,” he said.
“We have a lot of events like that, and it takes the large events that actually make money for the CAA to support those things. So underlying it all, the main point of every event here, is to draw people to the community,” Farmer said.
And by that standard, last weekend’s Snodeo was an unmitigated success.
“We bill Snodeo as the kick-off event for the snowmobile season, and it’s much, much easier to do that when we have snow. So last weekend was great. What we’re looking for is to generate enthusiasm, to get everybody amped up and really happy so they come back and direct friends our way,” he said.
Photos by Sydney Lawson