SARANAC LAKE - The Adirondack region's local Olympic athletes will be welcomed home with a parade here on Wednesday, March 26.
Nine local Olympians are on a list of possible participants, although only five have confirmed their attendance, according to Jon Lundin, a spokesperson for the state Olympic Regional Development Authority, one of the groups helping organize the parade.
Those five athletes are Lowell Bailey, 32, of Lake Placid, a three-time Olympian in biathlon; Tim Burke, 32, of Paul Smiths and now Lake Placid, a three-time Olympian in biathlon; Annelies Cook, 29, of Saranac Lake, a first-time Olympian in biathlon; Bill Demong, 33, of Vermontville and now Utah, a five-time Olympian in nordic combined; and Peter Frenette, 22, of Saranac Lake, a two-time Olympian in ski jumping.
"Everybody is hugely excited," Lundin said. "Tim, Lowell, Peter, they were real excited for the parade."
Other Olympic athletes who may attend the parade are lugers Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake and Erin Hamlin of Remsen, bobsled driver Jamie Greubel of Lake Placid and alpine skier Andrew Weibrecht of Lake Placid. Lundin would not go into further detail about them, saying he would not want to disappoint any fans.
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival royalty float will be refitted with Olympic rings and will carry the athletes down Broadway and Main Street.
The parade will begin at 3:15 p.m. in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise parking lot and continue down Broadway to Main Street, ending at the Harrietstown Town Hall, where presentations on the Olympians will be given. Once inside the town hall auditorium, photographs and autographs with the athletes are expected.
Kelly Morgan, a member of the Saranac Lake Women's Civic Chamber, said it's exciting to bring the parade back four years after she organized the first one following the 2010 Winter Olympics.
"We are all so excited to honor our Olympians with the parade," Morgan wrote in a press release. "Four years ago our communities filled the streets and the town hall, and I am sure they will again. The energy is unbelievable."
The 2010 parade featured nine athletes and culminated in a speech by Demong, who had won gold and silver medals in that year's Olympics.
"Billy's speech probably didn't leave a dry eye in that audience," Lundin said, "and that's what it's all about."
Partners involved in parade planning include the Women's Civic Chamber, ORDA, village of Saranac Lake, Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and Good Guy Productions
Local youth groups have been invited to participate in this year's parade, including downhill and cross-country ski groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and the Saranac Lake High School marching band and vocal ensembles.