Organizers hoping for 100 vendors at 'free family festival' at Bassmaster Elite Series in Waddington
Monday, May 20, 2013 - 2:42 pm

WADDINGTON – Organizers are hoping as many as 100 vendors will set up at a free family festival during the Aug. 8 to 11 Bassmaster Elite Series tournament.

More than a third of the 100 vendor booths planned for the Tastes and Talents of the North Country festival are already reserved.

A birds-of prey show featuring live falcons and hawks has been booked.

A 50-foot mobile fish tank and a trophy sport fishing simulator will be heading this way.

Musical performances during the August 8 to 11 tournament include local high school rock bands, and possibly Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division Band and a nationally known country music star.

All festival activities will be free to the public and timed so as not to conflict with the main event: the competition between the world’s top 100 bass anglers for more than $650,000 in prizes.

“We know that the Bassmaster Elite is going to be the biggest thing to hit St. Lawrence County in decades,” says St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce CEO Pat McKeown. Chamber staff, community leaders, and volunteers are assisting the host of the tournament, the Village of Waddington. Bob Giordano of Chase Mills is coordinating the event.

“We believe that businesses will be able to capitalize on the hundreds of visitors coming here and seeing what we have to offer,” McKeown said.

At least one area motel, The Riverview of Waddington, has felt the impact of the Elite Series. Owner Jahan Taraporewala confirmed that all of the motel’s rooms and cabins are filled for Elite week.

Free seminars on “The Business of Bassmaster” will be held next month in Ogdensburg, Potsdam, and Massena; local businesses can contact the chamber at 386-4000 for more information and to reserve a spot.

Artists, crafters, food and wine purveyors and producers, local services especially aimed at anglers and tourists, town and village chambers of commerce, and community organizations are being encouraged to reserve a booth at the festival. Reservation forms can be downloaded from northcountryguide.com, or call or email Jo Ann Roberts at the chamber, jroberts@stlawrencecountychamber.org .

Waddington is the seventh of this year’s eight Bassmaster Elite Series stops, and the only one of the series being held in the Northeast. It now has a title sponsor and with that, a new official title: the Elite Series Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at St. Lawrence River. Evan Williams Bourbon has an established relationship with Bassmaster, supporting some of their most popular and visible tournaments around the country.

The village of Waddington and tournament planners have designated Saturday, Aug. 10 as Military Appreciation Day featuring an American-Canadian Wounded Warrior Fishing Derby, a performance by the 10th Mountain Division Band, and fireworks display. Invitations have been extended to all warriors and battle buddies and their families from surrounding states to attend the festival.