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Potsdam prepping for annual summer festival

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POTSDAM - Each year in Potsdam, just days after letting their July 4th barbecue meals digest and letting the excitement of a fireworks display die down, the community gears up for more fun with SummerFest.

This year’s 47th annual edition will take place from July 10 to July 13 and has a mixture of new events on the schedule as well as returning favorites.

The Summer Festival is coordinated by the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce and its plans are nearly complete.

“Pretty much all of the major things are done. Our main stage is full of music and the craft show vendors is pretty much done at this point,” chamber Executive Director Marylee E. Ballou said. “The only thing still open is the food vendors coming along the street.”

Ms. Ballou said that updates will continue to be provided on the event’s Facebook page and can be accessed by typing in “Potsdam Summer Festival” on the site.

The action kicks off from noon to 8 p.m. July 10, with various vendors and concessions on Market Street. The first day of SummerFest also has a Potsdam Elks chicken barbecue beginning at 11 a.m. and the Tour de Potsdam 5k walk/run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Friday features a full day slate of games and activities ranging from the “Kids Zone” at the Elks Lodge on Elm Street to Outer Market Mania, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“For kids, (one of) the big favorites is the Potsdam Elks inflatables. We kind of dubbed it ‘The Kids Zone’ at the Elks Lodge,” Ms. Ballou said. “From noon to 6 on Friday is the Art Market. This is done by the St. Lawrence County Arts Council. It is at the Old Snell Hall lawn on Park Street. They are inviting specific artists and vendors inside or on the lawn. I would categorize their art as a juried type of art with other high end artisans at that show.”

Friday night concludes with an outdoor movie at 8:30 p.m. at the Ives Park Gazebo. This year’s showing is the highly popular animated film “Frozen.”

Saturday starts with a police department auction on Hatch Road at 9 a.m. and a new 5k event at 8 a.m., created by Sharon Chase.

“Thursday evening is the traditional Tour de Potsdam but another woman is organizing another 5k on Saturday morning. It is the ‘Teal Ribbon Ovarian Cancer Awareness Walk/Run,’” Ms. Ballou said.

Information about the new race is available by going to Facebook and searching “5K Walk/Run Teal Ribbon Ovarian Cancer Awareness.”

The final full day of action will also include a book sale, the annual Firemen’s Run to the River and plenty of musical performances.

While SummerFest always includes a parade on Saturday, this year’s version will include a specified theme.

“We’ve had a parade in the past but this is the first time we’ve put a theme to it. The parade route is the same as last year. ... The parade starts at 5:30 p.m. so the street will be closed off during that time,” the director said.

This year’s parade theme is “Fun in the Sun” and starts on Clarkson Avenue, goes down Maple Street, up Main Street and concludes at the Old Snell Hall.

The grand finale on Sunday will be the first Summer Baking Fest and Auction, presented by the Potsdam Food Co-op. The event runs from noon to 3 p.m.

“(The Summer Baking Fest) is new. It is very similar to what they do in the holiday time, and they have specific entries regarding using local products,” Ms. Ballou said. “It should be a fantastic new addition to SummerFest.”

A full schedule for the 47th annual SummerFest is available by visiting http://www.potsdamchamber.com/pdf/2014summerfestival.pdf

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