By JIMMY LAWTON
POTSDAM – The Potsdam Chamber of Commerce’s 45th annual Summer Festival starts Thursday, and residents, alumni and old friends will soon line the streets to enjoy one of Potsdam’s biggest events of the year.
The festival continues through Saturday with events ranging from beer and wine tastings to bounce-houses and musical acts.
New additions this year include the “Touch a Truck” which allows children to inspect and enter a variety of emergency and high profile vehicles for $1 fee.
“It’s geared toward kids,” said organizer Marylee Ballou. “It’s a chance for them to get up close and see what is going on.”
Ballou said that the Madstop Market and Outer-Market Mania are not new to the Summer Festival, but will offer a wider variety of vendors, flea markets and even sales consultants, who will be on hand to discuss their products and companies with visitors.
“We are trying to offer more than we have in the past,” she said
As always, the event will feature live music every hour on the Northern Music & Video Main Stage on the closed-off block of Market Street downtown with additional music in the Ives Park Gazebo on Saturday. Approximately 30 local musical acts will appear during the festival.
“We have a lot of great local performers,” she said.
Other returning events include the annual Tour de Potsdam 5K Walk/Run which raises money to provide health care for county residents in need, and the Potsdam Elks Lodge chicken barbecue.
On Saturday, Ives Park will host crafters and vendors as well as events including the Rotary Rubber Duck Pluck and the antique car show. Emmanuel Baptist Church will also be at the park with a bounce house, kids activities and balloons.
At Fall Island Park, adults can enjoy a wide range of beers and wines at Raquette River Craft Beer & Wine Fest.
“We really do have something for everyone. It’s a real community event that everyone can enjoy,” she said. “It’s a chance for us to showcase what Potsdam has to offer.”
While the event provides great entertainment for the community, Ballou said it is also an important opportunity for local businesses to attract new customers and talk to visitors about their goods and services.
“It’s great for non-profits and businesses. They get a chance to put their best foot forward,” she said.
Of course, no Potsdam Summer Festival would be complete without a community parade, and Ballou said this year will be no exception as floats, two high school marching bands and emergency vehicles take to the streets at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
“We just want everyone to come out, support the local bands and enjoy the events. It’s been happening for 45 years and it’s amazing the support we get for it,” she said.
For a complete listing of musical acts and events check the 7-Day Calendar listings.