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Boys and Girls Club Expo in Ogdensburg reaches 38th year

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OGDENSBURG — Sparkles, glitter and the sound of tap shoes took center stage at the Golden Dome at Ogdensburg Free Academy at 1 p.m. Saturday during the 38th annual Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club Expo.

More than 200 dancers from the Ogdensburg Dance Center performed in groups ranging from 2-year-olds to 18-year-olds.

“It’s a great experience for the girls to perform as a show,” owner Jill C. O’Brien said. “It brings a lot of extra people to the expo who might not usually come but they come because they’re relatives and want to see the dancers.”

Mrs. O’Brien said the Dance Center has been performing at the expo every year for more than 20 years.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Boys and Girls Club being in Ogdensburg.

“We’ve been around for a while and it’s because of the community,” said Thomas P. Luckie, director of the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club. “We have about 500 volunteers that help us pull this event off whether they’re at the door or selling food or supervising.”

Admission per person is $4, with all proceeds going to the club.

The financial budget to keep the club open is $354,000 a year, and the expo is its main fundraiser, according to Mr. Luckie.

He said over the course of the three-day weekend event, the expo had about 110 vendors and crafters.

“There’s so many people in the community who care about the Boys and Girls Club, but it’s an opportunity to support the local businesses as well,” Mr. Luckie said. “A lot of people come back year after year to support the club because they appreciate what we do and want us to keep doing it.”

Along with a dome full of vendors, OFA’s bigger gym was crammed with crafters and the smaller gym was the bazaar, with a bounce house, games and prizes for children.

Megan E. McNamara, assistant director of the Boys and Girls Club, was supervising the bazaar.

“The kids like it and the adults enjoy the stuff here because it’s for everybody,” she said.

Louella Richardson’s sand table at the craft fair was one of the most colorful and crowded with children. The sand artist drove from Rochester and said she’s been making the trip up each year to participate in the expo for more than 20 years.

“It’s the fluorescent colors that they like and it’s something they can do on hand themselves,” Ms. Richardson said. “And no sand creation is the same.”

Children could buy different size bottles with different characters on the caps and fill them with different colored sands, of which they had about 12 choices.

“I like the atmosphere and I love children, and I just love to see their expression when they’ve made something,” she said.

Although the weather Saturday morning was cold and snowy, it didn’t seem to affect the turnout for the expo.

“With the weather being crappy, you might as well come inside and do something,” Mr. Luckie said.

The activities will continue from noon to 4:30 p.m. today with a live auction at 1 p.m. that will include NASCAR and Yankees tickets, and a grand prize drawing of $5,000 will take place at 4 p.m.



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