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Potsdam Summer Festival keeps growing


POTSDAM — The village was packed Saturday with musical groups, tents featuring all types of vendors and nonprofit organizations, and hundreds of people who came to participate in the 46th annual Potsdam Summer Festival.

The three-day festival began Thursday, leaving much of Market Street blocked off.

In addition to live music and about 75 vendors, this year’s festivities included new events, such as an outdoor movie on Thursday.

Marylee E. Ballou, executive director of the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce, said 400 to 500 people participated Friday during Outer Market Mania in the Big Lots parking lot, 200 Market St.

The event was held primarily for children and included games, dance routines and Cubby the Clown. Outer Market Mania also included a touch-a-truck event that allowed children to see construction vehicles and firetrucks up close.

“It’s really anchored by the Fire Department and their trucks so kids can see them, touch them and get up close to them, when normally they can’t,” Ms. Ballou said. “That was a big hit last year and it really exploded this year, too.”

Ms. Ballou grew up in Potsdam and has been the director of the Chamber of Commerce for four years. She said that the festival gets bigger every year and that organizers have to start planning before January.

“This is probably the most vendor turnout we’ve had, and it is the largest festival in my memory for the blocked-off street and Ives Park,” Ms. Ballou said. “It’s become such a popular event that we have more vendors asking to be part of it.”

Saturday’s festivities included a car show consisting of about 80 cars, each more than 25 years old. The show was organized by George W. Cox, Parishville, who brought his own 1966 Mustang convertible to show off.

“It gives the old-car people the opportunity to get out and drive their cars,” Mr. Cox said.

“A lot of car shows, you just go and park your car and sit for the day, so Potsdam’s a lot different because there’s such a variety of things to do,” he said.

The North Country Children’s Museum tent was crowded all day Saturday. The museum displayed different exhibits educating children about plant and animal biology in St. Lawrence County.

“There’s a lot of kids in our area who don’t get access to quality science education, especially in the summertime,” said Sharon V. Williams, president of the museum’s board of directors.

“So it’s a chance for all kids, not just kids whose parents have money for camps, but every kid.”

Another vendor at the festival was the Potsdam Rotary Club, which had a pool of rubber ducks to raffle off as a fundraiser to send disabled children to summer camp.

The festival ended Saturday night following a parade that proceeded down Maple Street, over the bridge and onto Main Street, and the traditional Firemen’s Run to the River, in which firefighters race trucks from different directions to the Raquette River in an effort to be the first to shoot water into the river.

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