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General Brown Days for fun, celebrating community heritage

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BROWNVILLE — Along miles of streets here and in Dexter and Glen Park, families had yard sales, took their children to go on rides and play games, and ate carnival-style food Saturday.

But more than just a weekend of entertainment, the 35th annual General Brown Days, held Friday and Saturday and continuing today, honor Gen. Jacob Brown. He became a land agent here in the early 1800s, and soon after became a colonel in the 108th Regiment of the New York Militia during the War of 1812.

“Our purpose is that his name and image isn’t forgotten,” said Constance G. Hoard, secretary of the event’s weekend committee. “There’s a lot of acronyms, and people call it GB. We’re not GB weekend — we’re the General Brown days. It’s our purpose to remember what he did for our community.”

Mrs. Hoard is president of the historical society here and is the Glen Park village clerk.

She said Gen. Brown was famous for his “duty to the American people in the War of 1812, probably more famous for the Battle of Sackets Harbor.” His home was the Brownville mansion, where the village of Brownville office, library and community center are now housed.

“We’re celebrating his accomplishments and our heritage,” Mrs. Hoard said.

As Jane M. Jones, Brownville, walked past carnival rides and multiple yard sales on Brown Boulevard with sister Susan L. Nortz, Croghan, she said General Brown Days will always carry the same meanings: history and fun.

“I think a little bit about the history of it, but I mostly like to walk around at the rummage sale items,” she said. “This year I have my grandkids, so we’re not going to a lot of rummage sales, but we’re still enjoying it all.”

She brought grandchildren A.J. Jones, 2, and Alex Jones, 6 months.

Many schoolchildren also sported their General Brown Central School District Lion pride by wearing clothing with the school logo and mascot. Mrs. Hoard said General Brown Days originally began as a school-related event only, but the community has since embraced the event.

The event continues with a craft fair at noon today outside the Brown Mansion, Brown Boulevard, more carnival rides, rummage sales and chicken barbecues.

Mrs. Hoard said there will also be an ice cream social and a Zumbathon for children to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York at Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown.

The Zumbathon will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. today at the Brown mansion, with a suggested donation of $15 for adults, and $5 for children under age 13.

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