King Lee, Queen Cherie

SARANAC LAKE – Lee Foster and Cherie Racette are the king and queen of the 2013 Winter Carnival, crowned Friday night at the ceremony that traditionally begins the annual festival.

The stage in the Harrietstown Town Hall auditorium was splashed with seaweed, fish and even a sunken pirate ship to make it feel like the Carnival Court was “Under the Sea,” which is this year’s Carnival theme. Several members of the audience wore costumes in keeping with the theme, from fish hats to a full Spongebob Squarepants get-up.

During the Coronation, several speakers tipped their hats to the Ice Palace Workers 101, the crew of volunteers who build the Ice Palace every year. The IPW 101 had a rough go of it this year, having to rebuild half the palace and patch the rest of it with slush Friday and today after a nearly 60-degree thaw Wednesday. Eric Foster of the Winter Carnival Committee called it a heroic effort.

“They did a fantastic job this week,” said village Mayor Clyde Rabideau, noting that the palace is “the symbol of our Carnival” in the proclamation he read to kick things off.

“Let the festivities begin,” Rabideau said.

Chamberlain Chris Kollmer, who announced much of the Coronation, included several fishy jokes – like “What did the ocean say to the beach? Nothing, it just waved” – to groans and chuckles from the audience.

“Let’s dive in,” he said after his first joke didn’t hold water.

Tim Fortune and Kelly Morgan, who were 2012’s king and queen, spoke before Racette and Foster’s reign was announced.

“This year has gone too quickly, and it’s been such a blast and such an honor,” Fortune said.

He threatened a royal filibuster, talking all night to stall his crown being taken.

He called Morgan the perfect queen, noting that their families are close.

Morgan said it has been an honor being queen for the last year, but she listed three complaints: Royalty should be able to ride on a float more than once because it’s fun, their reign should last longer than a year, and the queen’s crown should be just as big as the king’s.

“What is with the little tiara?” Morgan said. “Do I look like a tiara girl?”

Morgan and Fortune gave Racette and Foster hugs after they were named.

About the queen and king

Racette was born in Malone and raised in Moira, graduating from Bruston-Moira Central School. She is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, and in 2009 she received the Carnival’s Trudeau Award for best exemplifying the Winter Carnival spirit.

Some of her volunteerism includes being a board member of the Adirondack Stride For Pride, assisting with Saranac Lake High School’s after-prom party, acting as treasurer and recording secretary for Boys Scouts Troop 1 and pack committee member and secretary for Cub Scouts Pack 9, assisting with the state public high school cross country championships, acting as president and treasurer of St. Bernard’s School Parent-Educator Association, helping to organize the Winter Carnival characters, volunteering for many Saranac Lake cross country races, and participating in a three-day, 60-mile walk in Boston to fight breast cancer.

She is currently attending North Country Community College and plans to graduate with associate degree in human services.

She has three sisters, Mary, Dottie and Debbie, and one brother, Donnie. She is the daughter of Douglas and Laura. She has two dogs, Marcy and Osgood. She is the proud mother of two Eagle Scouts, D.J. and Sam, and is married to Steve.

Foster was born in Baltimore and came to Saranac Lake in 1976 to attend Paul Smith’s College. He like living here so much he never left.

The Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce has named him in the past both the Volunteer of the Year and Citizen of the Year. He also received the Winter Carnival Service Award and the Edward Livingston Trudeau Memorial Award.

Some of his volunteer work includes work with the Adirondack Carousel, Adirondack Habitat For Humanity, St. Paul’s Food Pantry, St. Luke’s Vestry and Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks, and he has also volunteered time to help victims of hurricanes Sandy, Irene and Katrina.

Foster’s parents are John and French.


Also at the Coronation, Eric Foster announced the winners of three awards.

The Trudeau Award, for the individual who best exemplifies the Carnival spirit, was given to Cynthia Martino, the Carnival Committee’s treasurer.

The Katee Fobare Award, given to an individual or organization that goes above and beyond to help with Carnival, went to Edie Stanish and Amanda’s Village Motel. Stanish coordinates the Carnival-themed decoration of windows throughout Saranac Lake and collects frying pans for today’s Ladies’ Fry Pan Toss.

The Don Duso Award, for outstanding volunteers in building the Ice Palace, went to Tom Hyde and Mark Weller.

Contact Jessica Collier at 518-891-2600 ext. 26 or