POTSDAM - The grill was fired up and the sweet aroma of chicken, macaroni salad and baked beans made its way down Elm Street in Potsdam Thursday, signifying the official start of the 47th annual Potsdam SummerFest.
The Potsdam Elks Lodge Chicken Barbecque began at 11 a.m. yesterday, and the chicken was sold out well before 1 p.m.
“We’re going to have a sell out, probably in the next hour. It goes quick during the Summer Festival,” Elks Lodge 2074 Exalted Ruler Deb Moschell said shortly after the chicken started being served to diners.
The lodge brought in 525 half chickens for the meal ,according to Elks Lodge Chaplain Ed Keleher.
“We start getting everything ready at about 5 a.m., and we’re usually sold out by noon or 1 p.m. at the latest,” Mr. Keleher said.
Potsdam resident Mary Wellings tries to attend the barbecue every year and was eager to get to the front of the line outside the lodge late Thursday morning.
“I usually do most of the days (of SummerFest.) But our 50th reunion for Potsdam Central is this weekend so I may be skipping a few things this year,” Ms. Wellings said. “I really enjoy the antique and classic car show, and I always like the events down on Market Street, the musical stuff.”
Walt Cook, Potsdam, also enjoys checking out various parts of the four-day summer festival and frequently stops by at the barbecue.
“I try to come each year, depending on my work schedule,” Mr. Cook said. “I go to the ice cream social sometimes and like listening to the music playing on the Market Street stage.”
The Elks Lodge will also be the site of numerous festivities for children through the next two days.
The Kid Zone will run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday in the lodge’s 10 Elm St. parking lot.
A concession stand will also serve hot dogs, hamburgers, Italian sausages, soda, water, cotton candy and sno-cones from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
“Tomorrow we have much more going on here with the inflatables for the next two days - plus we sell food as well,” Ms. Moschell said. “The parking lot will be closed off tonight and that will all be in the parking lot area.”
Other events that took place on opening day included the Tour de Potsdam 5k walk/run and the Potsdam Rescue Squad ice cream social, as well as countless concessions and vendors along Market Street.
Friday July 11
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Book Sale, Civic Center Basement, Friends of the Potsdam Library
10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Concessions at Elks Lodge
10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Vendors, concessions
10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Kids Zone, Inflatables Elks Lodge, 10 Elm St.
11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Outer Market Mania, Save-A-Lot Plaza parking lot Kids’games, Touch A Truck
11:30 a.m. Tap to Toe, Noon & 1:30 p.m. - Cubby T. Clown, 2:15 p.m. - Step It Out Dance
Noon – 6 p.m. Art Market, Old Snell Hall Lawn or inside, Park Street artisan vendors
6:30 – 8 p.m. New Horizon Band of Northern New York, Ives Park gazebo
8:30 p.m. Outdoor Movie, Ives Park Gazebo. Sponsored by Dr. Stacey Howlett “Frozen” Popcorn. Water sold by Kiwanis.
Northern Music & Video Main Stage
10 – 11 a.m. Big Papa, Rock
11 a.m. – Noon Mike Welch and Christian Parker, Singers/Songwriters
Noon – 1 p.m. Church & State, Jazz
1 – 2 p.m. Mary Casale, Popular/Folk
2 – 3 p.m. Concessionaries, 60’s/70s
3 – 4 p.m. KTX, Pop/R&B
4 – 5 p.m. We Build Tomorrow, Indie Alternative
5 – 7 p.m. Northbound, Classic Rock
7 – 9 p.m. Plan B, Rock
9 – 11 p.m. Max Ryder Band, Blues/Southern Rock