By CRAIG FREILICH
POTSDAM – A "hot start" is in store as the 43rd annual Potsdam Summer Festival kicks of three days of festivities Thusday, July 8 with a tremendous variety of musical acts, the fire department’s parade and Run to the River, sidewalk sales, food and other vendors, and new attractions like “Family Fun Friday.”
Temperatures are predicted to reach 93 on Thursday then drop to 85 on Friday.,
In addition to hundreds of local residents, both SUNY Potsdam and Clarkson University alumni will gather back in Potsdam for the events, music, and the chance to see each other and friends made while they were here for school.
The Potsdam Chamber of Commerce’s main event each year, the festival officially begins Thursday morning when Market Street between Main and Elm streets is blocked off to traffic, the Northern Music and Video Main Stage is set up, and dozens of musical acts over the three days start at 10 a.m.
Complete listings and schedule of events are included in a special Potsdam Summer Festival tabloid section in North Country This Week, and in the 7-Day Calendar pages at new.northcountrynow.com/calendar/thursday
Stores along Market Street, Main Street, Maple Street, Elm Street and Raymond Street will arrange racks and tables of merchandise and set up attractions for kids and adults throughout the festival. The tent over the Main Stage, for the performers, has been supplemented by another tent for the audience this year.
Food vendors will be set up all three days and the Potsdam Volunteer Fire Department begins its free shows of movies for kids at the Roxy, this year with “Shrek Forever After” at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
On Thursday, the Elks serve their traditional chicken barbecue on Elm Street.
Thursday is also when the traditional Tour de Potsdam 5K Walk/Run takes place, starting at 6 p.m. with registration beforehand on Beal Street, off of Market Street behind Community Bank. This year it is sponsored by the St. Lawrence Health Initiative with proceeds going toward their access to care programs and SPORT peer educators helping people quit tobacco.
After the race, the Potsdam Rescue Squad’s popular ice cream social from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Community Bank parking lot welcomes back the Norwood Fire Department band, The Brass Firemen, to entertain, sponsored by North Country Savings Bank.
Featured music at the Main Stage from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday is Galen Curry, on guitar, keyboards and vocals, along with a few friends from home, Mark Lyon and Woody Jiang on guitar, Mark Bridgman on bass, and Johnny Whalen on drums. Curry, a local rocker now based in Virginia, was a member of the popular Potsdam band The Beds. The group will play original tunes from Curry’s new CD, “Some Perspective,” and some covers from the Beds’ repertoire. You can sample some of his new music at GalenCurry.com.
Earlier, Creative Spirit Art Center on Raymond Street will host a series of Artwalk workshops during Summer Festival, beginning with YogaDance at noon and Mosaic for Kids at 2 on Thursday.
The music starts up again Friday morning at 10 at the Main Stage and runs through 11 p.m.
Family Fun Friday is a new set of events in Ives Park Friday from 4 to 7:30 p.m. The games and other activities will include hula-hoop making, a demonstration of balloon-animal making, and 6-year-old cup-stacking champ Tyler Hollis showing his stuff. Dancing with DJ Double Dutch starts at 6.
“Family Fun Friday was developed as a way to fill the gap since Outer Market Mania will no longer be held,” said Potsdam Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marylee Ballou. “We wanted to do something for families. We’re encouraging people to bring a picnic dinner or grab something at a local restaurant and bring it to the park.”
Featured Main Stage groups Friday night are Sabbatical at 6 p.m., Plan B from 7 to 9, and Max Ryder from 9 to 11.
During the day, art workshops continue, and there will be a reception from 3 to 6 p.m. at the St. Lawrence County Arts Council on Market Street for the opening of a show of pottery, paintings and collage by Art and Patricia Sennett called “Art & Pat in Sync.”
Craft, Car Shows on Saturday
Saturday’s special events begin at 9 a.m. in Ives Park with the craft show, the antique car show, a hands-on weaving demonstration at 1 p.m. sponsored by the Potsdam Public Museum, and a bouncy house and face painting. The Orchestra of Northern New York’s annual “junque” sale is joining the new flea market sponsored by North Country Neighbors at Pine Street Arena from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Music at the Main Stage again begins at 10 a.m., and there is a whole lineup of musical acts at the gazebo in Ives Park also starting at 10 a.m.
The fire department’s exciting Run to the River, a legacy of volunteer fire companies’ speed competitions, takes place downtown at about 7 p.m., after the community parade around town that begins at 5:30 p.m. The parade will feature local notables, the fire department, and marching bands from high schools in Morristown and Lisbon.
After the parade and the Run to the River, the Main Stage music resumes with The Debt at 7:15 and Ten Cent Green at 9. From 7:30 to 9 p.m., music in Ives Park is capped by a performance from Northbound.
During the day other events at the Potsdam Public Museum, the Potsdam Public Library, and all around town will also keep attendees busy and entertained.