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“Outer Market Mania” returns to Potsdam

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POTSDAM - Sirens, horns and children’s laughter filled the air on Outer Market Street Friday afternoon.

“Outer Market Mania” attracted nearly 150 youngsters and their families to the Big Lots Parking Lot, according to organizer Janice M. Adderley. The plaza had hosted the event in previous years, but the “Mania” went on hiatus after the closures of Giant Tiger and Hackett’s.

With Big Lots’ opening and the plaza’s renewal, the event returned as part of the three-day Potsdam Summer Festival.

“The idea is to create a fun event for kids that they can come out and enjoy,” Ms. Adderley, a Potsdam Chamber of Commerce board member, said.

The event is aimed to attract festival goers outside the downtown corridor, where most of the other activities occur.

“We want to bring some action back to this part of the town,” she said.

The Potsdam Volunteer Rescue Squad, fire and police departments all brought vehicles to the parking lot as part of a “touch a truck” event. Children could tour the inside of an ambulance, sit in the driver’s seat of a 1925 fire engine and talk with a village police officer in a cruiser.

The St. Lawrence County Fire Chief’s Association also offered demonstrations in its fire prevention trailer. The event also featured raffles, a miniature golf challenge and face painting.

Elijah Lalonde, 10, of Parishville gave the siren of the 1925 truck a crank as his brothers Leo III and Quintin looked on. He appeared surprised as the decade’s-old siren roared.

“It’s cool. It’s fun. I wish I had one,” he said.

Adirenne C. Rygel brought her one-year-old daughter, Evangeline, who loves the sound of fire trucks when they go down the street. Ms. Rygel figured her daughter would enjoy seeing the vehicles up close.

“I try to expose her to as many things as possible. She likes big trucks with big horns. The loud noise just kind of fascinates her,” she said.

The event is also educational, according to firefighter James F. Corbett. When the children see the vehicles, they become familiar with them and are more likely to be comfortable with responders if an emergency occurs.

“In case of an emergency, they’re not scared,” he said.

The festival wraps up today. Friends of the Library continues its book sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Civic Center basement. A downtown parade will take place from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., and the Raquette River Craft Beer and Wine Festival is from 3 to 9 p.m in Fall Island Park. There will be live music throughout the day and night.

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