MAYFIELD - People gathered both in and on Mayfield Lake on Saturday, some braving the icy water for a "polar dip" and others playing hockey and other games atop the frozen surface.
The second-annual Mayfield Community Winter Carnival began Saturday and continues today. Participants in the swim weren't left out in the cold Saturday, as a 10-foot bonfire was ready to warm them up as they got out of the chilly water.
Mayor Jamie Ward was the first in the water this year and attested that the water was "absolutely freezing."
Mayfield Mayor Jamie Ward, center, and other participants get ready for the “Polar Dip” on Saturday at the start of the second annual Mayfield Winter Carnival. The carnival continues today. (Photo by Bill Trojan)
"Last year I did it with a dry suit under my business suit," he said. "This year, going in, your muscles get so tense. I can see how dangerous it is to fall in. By the time I got to the end, my neck, my shoulders and my chest were frozen."
He was pleased with the turnout of about 100 people in the carnival's second year and said it's something the village will look to continue and expand each winter. Organizers said they will be looking for more help as more people attend.
Lashonda Gifford of Gloversville was warming up next to the fire in a bathing suit on Saturday, debating whether to go in for a second plunge because her friend missed a video opportunity.
"It was pretty freezing, [but] I think I'm going to go in again," Gifford said. "My mom wants to see a video ... So I think I might actually do it again just for my momma."
Once she convinced her sister to join her again, they took the second plunge before quickly exiting the water and returning to the bonfire. This time there was a video, and two times was enough, she said.
"It's definitely cold; you can't really breathe, and all you're thinking about is getting to the other side," Gifford said. "It looks way longer when you're in the water."
An hour later, the second-annual Ladies' Frying Pan Toss kicked off with participants trying different techniques to get the longest distance.
Darlene Bornt's first attempt didn't go exactly as planned, and her frying pan slipped out of her hand and rolled to a 24-foot stop. Her second attempt ended up 20 feet longer.
Bornt said this year's turnout at the carnival was much better than in 2012, and she was happy to see that.
"It's nice to see everybody come out for it. It's a lot more organized," she said. "It gets you out of the house [in the middle of the winter]. I'm glad they do this."
Today's carnival events will begin with a vintage snowmobile show at Powerhouse Motor Sports on Route 30, and activities on the lake will include a tug-of-war, ice skating and outhouse races. And the bonfire will lit.
John Borgolini covers rural Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.