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Brasher gearing up for car show, muskie challenge

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BRASHER FALLS - The town of Brasher will be hosting two events expected to draw people in the community over the next few weeks.

Brasher Town Supervisor M. James Dawson said the town’s annual car show is Wednesday, and the second annual Muskie Challenge for soldiers from Fort Drum and wounded warriors is planned for Sept. 7.

Mr. Dawson said Brasher’s Super Cruise-In, which features food and music in addition to vintage vehicles, drew 148 vehicles last year and 168 two years ago.

“Last year it was overcast in the morning and that kept the crowd down. We seem to have built a good reputation. The key to it is good weather,” he said.

The Super Cruise-In will run from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in downtown Brasher Falls. The town of Brasher allocates up to $2,500 from the casino gaming funds for the car show. Mr. Dawson said the costs for the event again this year are being defrayed by strong support from the community.

“The W.B. Goodnow Insurance Agency bought the dash plaques. That saves us almost $400. Primabella’s donated the hamburger to the Lion’s Club for their concession stand and Saturday night Italian buffets as prizes for the car show. The IGA donated soda, hot dogs and hamburger and hot dogs for the event,” he said.

The Brasher town supervisor said the town has allocated $2,000 from its casino funds for the Muskie Challenge, but American Legion Post 514, Winthrop, has taken the lead role in planning the second event, which drew several soldiers from Fort Drum last year.

“I know the American Legion has big plans - breakfast at 6 a.m., box lunches for the soldiers and then a chicken barbecue at the playground in the afternoon,” Mr. Dawson said.

He said a military officer stationed at Fort Drum told him it was important to get soldiers - many of whom who have several tours in Afghanistan and Iraq or preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan - off base and out of the military mindset for a day.

“A lot of these kids are 18, 19 years old. I’ve seen what happened last year. I think we are doing a good thing. I think it is important,” he noted.

Mr. Dawson said the town of Brasher had a booth at the Bassmaster Elite Series in Waddington earlier this month and had an opportunity to share information with several soldiers who traveled to that community on the Saturday of the tournament, which was declared Military Appreciation Day.

The town of Brasher also rented horses and a carriage and offered free carriage rides throughout the four-day event, which attracted a record crowd to a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament and combined fishing with booths showcasing the food and talent of the north country. He said the cost of providing the free carriage rides was $2,100 and again came out of the casino gaming monies.

Mr. Dawson said a portion of the gaming compact funds provided to the town of Brasher are earmarked for economic development for tourism efforts.

“We passed out hundreds of brochures, with inserts on the Muskie Challenge and the car show, at the Bassmaster tournament. We had such good feedback. The carriage rides were such a big hit. Everybody is a critic, but you don’t know who you are going to influence when you do these kinds of things,” he said.

“This was supposed to be a St. Lawrence County party. We did it to add to the carnival-like atmosphere. I think we got a lot of good for the town of Brasher by being there. Now if we could get the (ATV) trails opened in the town of Brasher we have made some inroads to the tourism industry,” he suggested.

Mr. Dawson said the success of the bass tournament was an indication the FishCap initiative that has focused on marketing the rivers and lakes of St. Lawrence County to sportsmen - through events like the national tournament in Waddington and last year’s Muskie Challenge in Brasher - had made him a believer.

“I’m enthused by it. I was personally amazed at the crowds of people who attended this elite series. Almost to a person, the anglers who were there from all over the country were saying they couldn’t believe the crowds, the hospitality, the fishing,” he said.

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