MALONE –– The Malone Winter Carnival parade –– which was resurrected in 2012 after a decade-long absence, went on hiatus in 2018 and returned in 2019 –– will not take place this year, or in the foreseeable future.
Frigid temperatures and the lack of participation appear to have doomed the yearly march that originally began roughly 60 years ago.
“We think the Parade of Lights has sort of taken over as our winter parade,” said Mary Scharf, Malone Chamber of Commerce president who has helped organize the parade and other Malone Winter Carnival-related events in the past.
“We are definitely not doing the parade,” Scharf said. “It’s always so darn cold. Last year everyone nearly froze.”
Plus, the Winter Carnival runs in February during winter break and half the youth in the area are gone. That reduces participation, Scharf said.
“It’s a lot of work for a time when people are on vacation and it is cold,” Scharf said. “Last year there were little girls marching in tights, and it just isn’t worth it.”
She stressed if there was nothing else, the parade would continue, but the Parade of Lights improves every year.
“It has become so good,” she said.
The Parade of Lights, which was held last year on Nov. 30, first stepped off in 2018 as a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. Organizer Carrie Robinson said at the time that she hoped to make the parade an annual event, and the 2019 version drew hundreds of people to the Franklin County Fairgrounds despite decidedly chilly temperatures.
While the Winter Carnival parade will not take place this year, it appears that plans are still in the works for the Winter Carnival Revue and the Miss Winter Carnival Pageant.
Directors of the Malone Winter Carnival Revue have been auditioning talent for that show and have come up with a reinvented format that will celebrate life in the North Country. The revue is expected to weave together music, comedy, dance and theatrics to tell a story of the ups and downs of North Country culture.
The show is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, at the Malone Middle School.
Details of the pageant, which was first staged in 2016, have not yet been released, but a notice posted Tuesday on the Facebook page of Northern New York Beauty Pageants, which organizes the event, promised more information would be coming soon. Attempts to reach the pageant organizers on Friday were unsuccessful.
No other carnival-related events have been announced.
The 2019 Winter Carnival kicked off with the parade, which returned after a one-year absence. Organizers of the event then had planned to reinvent the parade as a Halloween attraction in 2018 instead of the traditional early February date, but that rescheduled event never occurred.
In years past, the parade featured floats created by local groups and businesses. Walking units included the Viking Horde, the Norco Clown Unit and the Northern New York beauty queens.