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Entrants sought for June 7 Heritage Festival, parade

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MASSENA - It’s a week until the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce’s 35th annual Heritage Festival and parade on June 7, but chamber officials say it’s not too late to sign up as a parade participant or vendor.

“We’re still taking applications,” chamber Director Kathleen Kelly-Ori said.

Vendor and parade applications are both available on the chamber’s website, www.massenachamber.com.

The theme for this year’s Heritage Festival is “Our North Country Heritage In Sports,” a suggestion that was brought up by chamber board member Sanford T. Cook during a recent meeting.

“One of our directors, Sanford T. Cook, the infamous sports broadcaster from WMSA radio, mentioned the many amazing accomplishments of our local athletes and teams in the past year. It seems natural to tip our hats to the numerous athletes and coaches – from amateur to pro and semi-pro, athletic – college, high school or elementary school and the many leagues and leisure and recreational sports,” Ms. Kelly-Ori said.

She said they’ve reached out to Massena Central School Athletic Director Timothy Hayes and retired St. Lawrence Central School Athletic Director Rosemary Bronchetti to solicit entries for the parade. But, she said, any sports organization, no matter how large or small, is invited to join them.

“It’s north country sports. The greater Massena area, as well as the surrounding towns and villages, can lay claim to some amazing athletes who grew up here and were involved in school and organized sports programs. For generations sports have provided a very positive influence on our communities. It doesn’t have to be academic or scholastic sports,” she said, noting it could be anything from a broomball team and figure skaters, to golfers and T-ball players.

“I want to se them all. We just want to celebrate sports and the influences you had when you grew up,” Ms. Kelly-Ori said. “It would be tremendous to see all of the kids, teens, adults and even old timers who participate in north country sports wear their jerseys and march proudly down Main Street during Heritage Festival.”

Businesses can also jump in to sponsor teams for the parade, she said.

“They can get together a float with all the teams,” Ms. Kelly-Ori said.

The parade will feature honorary co-grand marshall Jonny Gustafson, a luger who was recently named to the fall 2014 Junior Team for USA Luge. Ms. Kelly-Ori said they would like to have another sports-related grand marshall to stand with Mr. Gustafson as part of the event.

Although it’s a sports theme this year, she said entries for the parade and vendor show don’t have to be sports-themed. It could be any organization such as Boy Scouts, she said.

“It’s not limited to sports team. Everybody is welcome,” Ms. Kelly-Ori said.

Among the participants they have for both the parade and Heritage Festival is Michael Zakarauskas and a monster truck. Once he’s done participating in the parade, he’ll have the truck outside the Massena Arena, where Ms. Kelly-Ori said visitors to the Heritage Festival can have their picture taken with it.

Line-up for the parade will be from 8:15 to 8:30 a.m. on Water Street. The parade steps off at 9 a.m., heading down Main Street, left on Bowers Street, right on Grove Street and to the Massena Arena, where the Heritage Festival runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A full day of entertainment, food and vendor booths awaits visitors at the arena. Among the scheduled activities are a bounce house, face painting, Cubby T. Clown and a silent auction.

The day will include entertainment beginning around 9:45 a.m. from groups such as the Trinity Catholic School Band, Massena All-Elementary Band, Holy Name of Jesus Academy, Tap to Toe Studio of Dance and the Massena Zen Do-Kai Karate Club.

“It will start as soon as the parade is over and the kids get in there,” chamber Associate Director Penny Pullmain said. “We’re asking anybody who is doing entertainment to enter through the back entrance.”

Along with the vendors, staff from the Robert Moses State Park Nature Center will be offering some type of activity for children.

Entrance to the Heritage Festival is $3 for adults, $2 for students, and children 5 and under are free.

Sponsors for this annual event include SeaComm Federal Credit Union, Alcoa, North Country Savings Bank and Seaway Valley Ambulance.

For more information, contact the chamber at 769-3525.

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