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Fri., Sep. 4
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Childstock Festival draws fans, bands


MALONE - The Childstock music and arts festival came back to Malone for its seventh year on a warm and breezy Saturday, bringing a day of festivities not often found in the area.

In addition to about a dozen live bands that started at 11 a.m. and continued passed 2 a.m., about 150 concert-goers were also treated to art and craft activities, food, and camping.

Held at Childstock Farms in Malone, the day began with acts from around Franklin County, including Malone’s Shelley Shutler and Friends and the Lou Dacques Band. The music moved on to regional favorites, such as Lostdog and the Stone Revival Band.

“I like it, it’s really low-key,” Luke Boyea of Massena said, adding that it’s a nice change of pace from some of the larger music fests, such as moe.down or Mountain Jam. They draw crowds of thousands. “It’s not as busy-busy, hustle-hustle. Everybody’s laid back.”

Boyea and his companion, Jen Tucker, also of Massena, said they came because of the family-friendly atmosphere. They brought their one-year-old son Allen, who was dancing and giggling as the Blind Owl Band blasted through bluegrass-inspired originals.

“Allen’s having fun,” Boyea said.

Repeat attendees came back for many of the same reasons as those checking out Childstock for their first time.

“It’s great music, and it’s one of the few music events you can bring your dog to,” Rebecca Jewell of Massena said. Her six-year-old pug Jaxon could be seen lying out on a bench, face to the light breeze as bands played.

Patty Waldron of Clayburg returned to her second Childstock as a vendor. She operates the Koffee Kat van, a mobile coffee-shop-for-hire with co-owner Dylan Raskin.

“The weather’s perfect, the bands are awesome. It’s a great day,” Ms. Waldron said, who received a kudos from one of the bands for making tasty iced coffee.

In addition to coffee, beer, and hotdog/hamburger vendors, migrant Mexican workers employed by Childstock Farms made authentic Mexican food. They served carnitas, which is a tortilla shell with pork that is flash-fried then slow-cooked and topped off with a mixture of chopped avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, oil, and spices.

“We always try to offer something that you can’t get anywhere else,” event organizer Ralph Child said.

A community-based event new to this year’s Childstock was a booth operated by the Clarkson University robotics team that showcased what would be offered at a proposed North Country Children’s Museum.

“What we’ve got here today is a museum without walls,” according to Ben Baumgardner, a robotics team member originally from Wisconsin.

In addition to a basketball-tossing robot the team offered in a recent competition, they had a miniature rink set up with small robots linked with Android-compatible cell phones via bluetooth technology. He said the team members built them from scratch using a Lego NXT Mindstorms kit.

The day could not have come together without a significant volunteer effort, which included work to build and tear down the stage, working the face paint and tie-dye booths, and musicians offering time as a volunteer stage manager. Mr. Child worked tirelessly and with little sleep for days leading up to the concert to ensure everything went off smoothly.

“I had fun with it this year, I enjoyed doing it,” Mr. Child said on Sunday. “There’s been some magical moments over the years. You get those meaningful times when something happens and you step away and say ‘Wow, I’m glad we did this,’ and we had some of that yesterday [Saturday].”

Child gives a lot of credit to the bands and the sound engineer, Jason Townley of Saratoga.

“They’re really appreciative when they’re doing this. You could hear it yesterday, the energy just kept building and building throughout the day,” Child said of the bands.

“They’ve really bought into the event and take ownership of what they’re doing,” Mr. Child said of the sound team.

“Whatever we can do to make it easier for them,” Ty Tedford of Saranac said. He, along with his son Casey Tedford, also of Saranac and Casey’s friend D’Andre Lamiux of Plattsburgh worked a tie-dye booth. Anyone who purchased a Childstock 2012 T-shirt was given an opportunity to tie-dye it colors of their choice for free.

“I was told since I am the kid and I act like a kid, I get to deal with the kids,” Casey Tedford said, chuckling.

“This is cool man; It takes the right property owner to give a little and maybe not get as much back,” James Ford, banjo player for the Blind Owl Band said.

“You have to give something back,” Mr. Child said. “It’s all about giving back.”

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