Jefferson County Fair starts this week with old favorites, new animal shows

From left, Steve Close, Robert Stackhouse and Jimmy Rhodes set up their lemonade tent in preparation for the Jefferson County Fair, which starts Tuesday at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds. Justin Sorensen / NNY Living

From left, Steve Close, Robert Stackhouse and Jimmy Rhodes set up their lemonade tent in preparation for the Jefferson County Fair, which starts Tuesday at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds. Justin Sorensen / NNY Living

This week, all in the same day even, a trip to the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds will enable you to interact with an exotic bird, ride a Sky Flyer, see a miniature stallion take a bow, watch a “brawl” while listening to “head-banging rock” and pick apart a jumbo sticky bun.

The Jefferson County Fair — the oldest continually running fair in the nation — has descended on the city for its 197th running Tuesday through Sunday off Coffeen Street.

“Every year it’s a combination of new and the same,” said Robert D. Simpson, fair president. “We’re going to have a good fair,” he said as setup kicked into high gear over the weekend, noting he hopes as many as 55,000 people attend.

One new attraction this year is the “Horses, Horses, Horses” show by Sarasota, Fla.-based performer Lisa A. Dufresne, which features 12 miniature stallions, a Friesian from Holland and a black Arabian performing a variety of stunts. Ms. Dufresne’s horses have traversed the U.S. and have performed with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, her website says. The show, free with admission, runs at 3, 5 and 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. Sunday.

“We’ve been trying to get it for several years,” Mr. Simpson said of the act. “We were finally able to book it this year.”

Ms. Dufresne said the 30- to 35-minute “variety show of horses” features five or six different acts. “It’s quite entertaining for everyone — adults and children alike,” she said Sunday.

Also new this year is “Westy’s Birds of Prey,” an interactive show of exotic birds with master falconer Rick West, of Adams.

A new non-animal-related attraction is “Brawlapalooza,” “a rock and rumble event” set for 6 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15 to the show, which features seven mixed martial arts bouts and three bands — My Poor Brain, a tribute to the Foo Fighters, Stone Temple Co-Pilots, a tribute to STP, and Wrapped in Noir.

Mr. Simpson said the popular demolition derbies will return at 7 p.m. Thursday and at 3 p.m. Sunday. A 2CW wrestling event returns at 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15.

As always, livestock and 4-H events will feature prominently. New this year is an open-carrier rabbit show on Sunday, which could draw as many as 300 well-groomed rabbits, many from out of the area, said Beth Shelmidine, first vice president of the Jefferson County Agricultural Society.

“We have a lot of competitions for everything from cattle to sheep and goats and chickens and rabbits,” she said.

This year’s rides also are a combination of traditional and novel. The Orbiter, a popular ride that Mr. Simpson said has been gone from the fair for some time, will return. The Wild Claw, the Sky Flyer and the Super Himalaya also will be featured, and a ride called Zero Gravity is new this year.

Other attractions include a roving balloon artist, daily contests and an array of traditional fair cuisine, including a new vendor, Mr. Sticky’s Sticky Buns.

On Sunday, as multicolored neon tents billowed under pristine blue skies, Lauren M. Clark, who will turn 14 on the first day of the fair, and her father were giving a fresh coat of white paint to their wooden animal pens, which will house two llamas and two meat goats. She said it will be her fifth year attending the fair with her animals, but only her second with goats, and this year she’s bringing a 4-month-old baby goat. “I will be breeding it,” she said. She added that she enjoys the livestock shows for children at night, and works at the dairy bar during the fair.

Under another yellow-and-white tent, Jason and Holly Schell, of Schell Farms, Philadelphia, were painstakingly hammering the letters of the sign for their booth, which will be staffed by their two daughters, Cassidy, 14, and Macie, 20.

“They do pretty much all of the work taking care of the animals the whole week,” Mrs. Schell said. In its fourth year attending, the farm is bringing 10 cows of various ages.

She said her daughters enjoy the numerous 4-H and FFA activities, such as a “milk-off” competition. “They have a blast,” she said.

Not to be outdone, food vendors on Sunday assembled in prime spots to attract hungry patrons. Smokey’s BBQ, Chaumont, was readying its trailer and smoker. “It’s a good fair,” owner George A. Day said. “It gets better and better every year.”

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.jeffcofair.org.

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Five Things Friday – December 6

5thingsfriday logoRED1) Holiday festivities will light up Watertown’s Public Square tonight, starting at 5:30 p.m. with a performance by the Jefferson Singers from JCC on the north side of the square. The annual holiday parade starts at 5:45 p.m. and has more than 40 entries this year. The route starts in the J.B. Wise Parking Lot, enters Public Square at Mill Street and ends in the Court Street parking lot. An official countdown to turn on the holiday music and light display starts at 6:30 p.m. and Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will greet children in the Public Square gazebo until 7:30 p.m.

2) Another event to get you into the holiday spirit is “Santa Central” at the Clayton Opera House on Saturday from 3 p.m. until the start of the Clayton Holiday Parade at 6 p.m. The event includes a bouncy house, a holiday craft station, a write-a-letter-to-Santa table and several holiday film shorts. There will also be hot cocoa, coffee, tea or water, and baked goods. Admission is free. Other Christmas-themed activities Saturday in Clayton include a craft show and basket raffle at the Knights of Columbus Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a holiday food fair at St. Mary’s Parish Center (515 James St.) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the annual Dickens Christmas Festival at Hawn Memorial Library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a holiday social and trunk show at the TI Arts Center. The TI Winery will also host Kris Kringle Market, a German-style indoor Christmas market featuring local crafters, food, wine tastings, winery tours and Santa’s workshop, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A full schedule of Christmas activities in Clayton can be found here.

3) Isaac James, a classical pianist who grew up in the Watertown area and now lives in Vermont, will make his debut solo piano recital in his hometown area tonight at 7 p.m. at Jefferson Community College’s Sturtz Theater. Mr. James, who made his Carnegie Hall debut a year ago, will perform works by Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Schumann, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff and others on a Yamaha 9-foot concert grand piano. The concert will also feature a special guest artist. Mr. James, who competed in the prestigious annual 1000 Islands International Piano Competition in Cape Vincent, has studied with instructors from the Julliard School of Music and Mannes College of Music in NYC and performed widely on the East Coast. The concert is free.

4) Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, 53 Main St., Canton, is hosting a Holiday Open House on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event includes the opening of the Sugar & Spice Gingerbread exhibit of gingerbread houses, a Holiday Showcase featuring artist and folk store wares, and a performance by Vocal Skies Sacred Harp singing group at 11:30 a.m. The group will also perform its slate of 18th and 19th century Christmas hymns at 3:30 p.m. at Pickens Hall in Huevelton. Vocal Skies is a Canton-based ensemble that sings in the sacred harp tradition. A variety of other holiday-themed events are also happening in Canton on Saturday: A book, bake and craft sale at the Canton Free Library from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; the Holly Berry Bazaar at the St. Mary’s School gymnasium sponsored by the E. J. Noble Guild, which raises money for the hospital by selling lunch, Christmas gifts and decorations; a visit by Santa at the Brewer Bookstore, 92 Park St. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and a holiday open house from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Silas Wright House, 3 E. Main St.

5) This weekend is the annual Festival of Trees and Sugarplum Ball at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown. The Gala Dinner takes place tonight, followed by the Sugarplum Ball on Saturday. Public viewings of decorated large and small trees will be today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets to the gala are $70 each, and tickets to the Sugarplum Ball are $70 per parent-child couple, and $35 for each additional child. To reserve tickets to either event, call 785-5745 or visit www.samaritanhealth.com.

Also going on: The fifth annual charity Christmas masquerade ball at Bonnie Castle Resort in Alexandria Bay is tonight from 8 p.m. to midnight. The event benefits local families in need during the Christmas season and includes hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, a cash bar and music by Nik Lite of Nik and the Nice Guys. Tickets are $40 and masks will be available starting at $5. Visit www.TIYLO.org for more information.

Ten Things Black Friday – November 29

FTF BF REALHappy Thanksgiving! Whether you plan to brave the crowds on Black Friday or stay inside the comfort of your home in a post-turkey coma, there are several great events this weekend to take advantage of if you have some time off and need to get out of the house.

1) If you’re feeling particularly brave, consider taking a “dip” into the St. Lawrence River during Saturday’s Pluck & Plunge festival in Cape Vincent to benefit a community Christmas party for the needy and the Cape Vincent Volunteer Fire Department. You can pick up sponsor sheets at Breakers Restaurant, 194 E. Broadway, or call the restaurant at 501-5050. Participants who raise the most money will have their choice of a pair of diamond earrings or a new television as a prize. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed “plunger.” The event starts at noon at the restaurant and onlookers will walk down to the river at 1 p.m. Following the “plunge,” the restaurant will host a variety of festivities, including karaoke and a horseshoe tournament. Actor Frank Shattuck, who appeared on “Boardwalk Empire” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” will join the day’s events and be available for autographs and photo opportunities. The dinner for the needy will take place Dec. 23.

2) The New York State Zoo at Thompson Park is hosting Black (Bear) Friday, during which you can enjoy bear-themed activities and stories inside the discovery center from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; chat with the bear’s keeper, Melanie, at the bear exhibit from 12:30 to 3 p.m. to learn more about caring for the bear; and shop for discounted souvenirs in the gift shop. The program is free with zoo admission. Winter Wonderland Weekends also kick off this weekend at the zoo and run every weekend through Dec. 29. The event, which takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each weekend from 5:30 to 8 p.m., lets you stroll the zoo and enjoy its holiday light decorations. Hot chocolate, coffee and other refreshments will be available at the Wildside Cafe. Tickets to that event are $3 for adults and $2 for children ages 3 to 12. Zoo members are free.

3) If you’re looking to take a day trip from the north country, the Wild Center in Tupper Lake is hosting Black & White Day Friday. The event includes a trunk show of local Adirondack artisans showcasing local photographers and painters, jewelry makers, knitters, leather goods and unique items from The Wild Supply Co., which can be gift wrapped for free. There will also be live music by Rustic Riders, crafts for children, seasonal treats and special activities surrounding the center’s pair of skunks, Night and Day. Admission is just $5 for adults and free for children ages 14 and younger. A full list of vendors at the event can be found here.

4) Another great indoor activity closer to home is a performance by hard rock and heavy metal band Halestorm on Saturday in McVean Gymnasium at Jefferson Community College at 7 p.m. Halestorm won its first Grammy Award in February in the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category for its song “Love Bites (So Do I)” from its 2012 album “The Strange Case Of…” The Pennsylvania-based band also released two other albums in 2012, “Hello It’s Mz Hyde” and “ReAniMate.” The band is composed of siblings Arejay and Lzzy Hale, Joe Hottinger and Josh Smith. Local band Lake Effect Mud will open the concert. Tickets are $35 for the general public and $20 for JCC students; call 786-2431 or visit www.sunyjefferson.edu.

5) The American Maple Museum on Main Street in Croghan is hosting a “Maple Friday” event on Friday and Saturday during which you can purchase maple-themed gifts and stocking stuffers, including sweatshirts and t-shirts, maple jewelry, candles, crafts and various other items on sale. The museum will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the museum is $10 for families with two adults and two or more children; $4 for adults; $1 for children ages 5 to 14; and free for children ages five and younger.

6) In Motion School of Dance will present the eighth annual performance of the holiday classic The Nutcracker on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown. Tickets are $12 for the general public and $6 for children. On Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the State Office Building, there will be a Holiday Craft Fair & Market to benefit the Watertown Urban Mission, featuring local vendors and crafters selling baked goods, farm goods, crafts, woodworking products, toys, home decorations and more. Admission is $2.

7) Also in Watertown, Immaculate Heart Central schools will be staging a Polar Express holiday show featuring Rhonda’s FooteWorks dancers and Stage Notes singers on Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. at the high school, 1316 Ives St. The 2 p.m. show will be signed for the hearing impaired. The event benefits Daimon and Seeley Tuttle, 3 years and 8 months old, who suffer from Persistent Fetal Vascular Syndrome, and will also include a silent auction. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $5 for military personnel. Suggested attire is holiday pajamas. For advance tickets or to donate, email rfwdance@gmail.com.

8) If you’re interested in moving right into the spirit of the next holiday, there will be a holiday of lights kickoff in Canton on Friday at 6 p.m., including Santa, a tree lighting, caroling, sleigh wagon rides, holiday lights and hot chocolate and cookies at Canton Presbyterian Church.

9) The professional fire performance company Fire Magick will perform on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Arts on the Square, 52 Public Square, to raise money for a trip to India to perform at TechFest 2014. Monetary donations will be accepted and artwork or jewelry will be auctioned as well. Arts on the Square will also be participating in Small Business Saturday through an arts sale from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, during which you can pop balloons for chances to win 5, 10 or 15 percent off art. Visit the Arts Council’s Facebook page for more information. Find a list of all businesses participating in Small Business Saturday and other deals here.

10) Another shopping venue is the “All I Want for Christmas…” holiday craft fair at the Clayton Municipal Building on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event features face painting, activities for children, raffles and gift baskets, and benefits volunteer fireman Randy Bourcy, who is in need of a kidney transplant. Contact Kim Sherman at 777-1495 for more information.

NNY crafters see opportunity in Etsy’s new definition of ‘handmade’

Thelma L. Hamilton of Watertown is a maker of painted ornaments who does about 20 percent of her business on Etsy, the online craft sales site. Justin Sorensen / Watertown Daily Times

Thelma L. Hamilton of Watertown is a maker of painted ornaments who does about 20 percent of her business on Etsy, the online craft sales site. Justin Sorensen / Watertown Daily Times

Etsy, the handmade and vintage e-commerce site that has nearly a million sellers of everything from wool scarves to soap, has struggled with its identity as a mecca for small-scale artisans for its nearly decade-long existence. The struggle was captured in a terms of a service policy that grew to 14,000 words in an attempt to enumerate all of the gray areas in what qualified as “handmade.” Then, in September, Etsy changed its guidelines, allowing sellers to hire help for production or shipping, and even to forge partnerships with manufacturers.

The change has generated some anxiety among artisans who want to preserve the site’s small-scale, human-driven provenance and raised fears that larger sellers would infiltrate, taking a cut of these crafters’ livelihood.

But many sellers, including a number of north country merchants, believe the changes will help creative businesses grow and will perhaps change little about the site, which is expected to exceed $1 billion in total annual transactions this year.

“I think if it’s handmade it’s not going to be an issue,” said Thelma L. Hamilton, who has been hand-crafting holiday ornaments from her Watertown home for more than 20 years. “We’re already competing with worldwide merchants.” [Read more…]

Five Things Friday – Nov. 1

5thingsfriday logoGREEN1) This weekend’s best bet is the 65th annual North Country Fall Art Show, which kicks off tonight with an opening reception of food, music and art from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Dulles State Office Building. The evening features live music by Beautiful Wreck, a performance by Fire Magick, a cash bar and appetizers by Samaritan Catering. Tickets to the reception are $12. A bundled package to the reception and Watertown Lyric Theater’s production of Oliver! the musical will be available for $2 off each event. The musical runs Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. as well as Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. at the State Office Building. Tickets to that event are $15 for general admission, $12 for students, seniors and military, and $10 for children ages nine and younger, and can be purchased in advance at the Arts Council or at Sherwood Florist, 1314 Washington St. The art show, which includes 212 pieces of art across all genres from 67 artists, will be on display at the State Office Building through Saturday, Nov. 16, during which time the public can view it for free during State Office Building hours. Visit www.nnyart.org for more information. Check out some behind the scenes footage of artists setting up their exhibits here.

2) All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church will hold a silent and live auction Saturday at the church, 1330 Gotham St. from 6 to 9 p.m. Donations to the raffle, which benefits the church’s green project to install a solar-powered sign, include a gift certificate for Tug Hill Winery, hair salon tickets, a massage, silk scarves, handmade handbags, antiques, greeting cards, a custom watercolor of your pet, a lawn mower and more. The evening also includes hors d’oeuvres, beverages and the jazz music of Shelly Gael and company. The live auction starts at 7:45. Tickets, which will be available at the door, are $3 per person or $5 per couple. Children 16 and younger are free. Call the church at 788-2742 for more information or visit its Facebook page.

3) The season for celebrating Halloween isn’t over yet. The Clayton Opera House will present the classic favorite Rocky Horror Picture Show at 9 p.m. tonight. This is the first time that the rock and roll classic, the longest running film in history, comes to the Opera House. Tickets are just $10 and can be purchased at the door. The show, which is sponsored by Music for the Mission and Community Broadcasters, benefits the Watertown Urban Mission. Visit the Opera House’s website or call 686-2200 for more information.

4) The Ogdensburg Command Performances will put on Street Beat, a production of urban rhythm using household items for drums and percussion similar to “Stomp,” on Sunday at 7:45 p.m. at the George Hall Auditorium, Ogdensburg Free Academy, 1100 State St. The show features hip-hop moves, break dance acrobatics and African, Cuban, Latin and jazz influences. Tickets run $15 to $37. Call the box office at 393-2625 or visit its website.

5) The New York State Zoo at Thompson Park will hold its Owl 500 Meet & Greet fundraiser Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the zoo. The event, which includes crafts, owl-themed activities and tours of the zoo’s owls, is free with zoo admission. The fundraiser is part of the zoo’s initiative to build several exhibit spaces for owl species found in New York state. More information on the campaign and how to donate can be found here.

NCAC 65th annual Fall Art Show kicks off Friday (VIDEO)

IMG_20131028_114841The 65th annual North Country Arts Council Fall Art Show kicks off with an opening reception, Arts. Beats. Eats., on Friday, Nov. 1 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Dulles State Office Building, 317 Washington St., Watertown.

The show includes 212 pieces of art from 67 artists and will be on display through Saturday, Nov. 16, during which time the public can view the show free of charge from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“I’m excited about the diversity of the artwork,” said Hope A. Marshall, co-coordinator of the show and Arts Council member. “There are some really standout, interesting pieces.”

She also said that artists are finding out about the show from a broader area—Central New York, Canton and Potsdam—as a result of recruitment and promotion; 15 artists this year are non-members. The Arts Council also refused more pieces this year than ever before, she said.

This is the second year the NCAC has made the opening reception a “destination event” with food and music, which Ms. Marshall said was a huge success last year, drawing nearly 500 people.

“We saw an opportunity to make this welcoming to the artists and to the public, and to connect the artists with the public,” Ms. Marshall said.

The reception will include live music by local band Beautiful Wreck, a performance by Fire Magick, a cash bar and appetizers by Samaritan Catering. A bundled package to the reception and Watertown Lyric Theater’s production of Oliver! the musical will be available for $2 off each event. The musical runs Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. as well as Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. at the State Office Building. Tickets to that event are $15 for general admission, $12 for students, seniors and military, and $10 for children ages nine and younger.

The NCAC will award first, second and third prizes in all six categories: painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, mixed media and jewelry, as well as the Catherine Common Johnson Award for “Best of Show” and an emerging artist award for artists who haven’t exhibited publicly before. The three judges area are all from outside the area—one from Canada, one from Ithaca and another from Syracuse.

The show also has three invitational artists: John Elwood Cook, Candace Rhea and Robert Paul Saphier, as well as a memorium to artist Jim Burns.

The winners’ work will be on display at the NCAC from Nov. 20 through Jan. 11, 2014.

For tickets to the reception, which are $12, call 661-6361 or visit www.nnyart.org. Tickets can also be purchased at Sherwood Florist, 1314 Washington St.

To watch a video of the artists setting up, visit http://youtu.be/UZAe3lSx_dc.

Five Things Friday – Oct. 25

5thingsfriday logoRED1) One of this weekend’s best bets is the second annual Haunted Walk of Sackets Harbor, an hour-long, one-mile spooky walk through some of Sackets Harbor’s best historical and scary sites. Tours will leave every 15 minutes, starting at 6 p.m. and running through 9 p.m. tonight, Saturday and Sunday from the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site. All of the storytellers are adults, and will relay creepy tales based on historic Sackets Harbor events and characters. Sunday night is designated for young children and will include trick-or-treating at the tour stops. Stops on the tour include the Commandant’s House at the battlefield, Pickering-Beach Museum at 501 W. Main St., the former Union Hotel at 401 W. Main St., the Sackets Harbor Bank building, the George Sacket House, the Augustus Sackett Mansion and a “mystery stop.” Cost for adults is $5 and $3 for students. The event is a fundraiser for the Sackets school’s performing and visual arts programs. The school’s Glee Club will also collect donations of food items for the Backpack Club, which provides food for needy families in the district. Check out the event’s Facebook page for more information.

2) On a similar Halloween note, the Black River Valley Club will host a Halloween Bash on Saturday at the club, 131 Washington St., starting at 8:30 p.m. The event will feature a ghost tour revealing the spooky details of the club’s recent paranormal investigation, a costume contest and live music by the acoustic-jam trio Annie in the Water. The event is only open to patrons 21 years of age and older and costs $15. In August, a group of investigators from Paranormal Investigations of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Uini Research conducted an investigation that found that the club is indeed rife with shadowy spirits. Call the club at 788-2300 for more information.

3) If you’re looking for a more family-friendly Halloween option, check out Boo at the Zoo at the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The zoo will have Halloween-themed areas for children to collect candy and goodies, as well as crafts, games, music and animal encounters. For zoo members the event is free for adults and $2 for children; for non-members, $8 for adults and $6 for children; and for military $7 for adults and $5 for children. The event also includes a free screening of the new movie Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest presented by WPBS Digital TV on Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Thompson Park Zoo community classroom.

4) Don’t miss a spectacular opportunity to stock up on books for the impending winter hibernation period at Flower Memorial Library‘s annual book sale Saturday and Sunday. The sale kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday at the library, 229 Washington St., but there will also be a Book Sale Preview Night from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight during which Friends members can each purchase up to 50 books or other materials (if you’re not a member, you can sign up during the event for $15 for patrons and $10 for seniors). Books a the sale, which is the Friends of the Library’s annual community fundraiser and is used to fund the library’s fiction collection, cost $1 for hardcovers and 50 cents for paperbacks, with some premium, coffee table varieties a bit more. Volunteers have also noted that the sale includes some high-quality paperbacks in a huge variety of genres from self-help to science fiction, so be sure to arrive early for the best pickings. The sale will run during regular library hours.

5) Check out Lowville Middle School’s production of “The Little Mermaid Jr.” on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. in the Lowville Academy and Central High School auditorium, 7668 N. State St. Choreography of the kid-friendly, upbeat musical was arranged by Katherine Jay, a third-grade teacher at Lowville Academy and three high-school students will serve as student directors. Admission is just $5.

Also going on: The Potsdam Farmers’ Market in cooperation with the community organization GardenShare will host Pumpkin Fest on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. behind the municipal lot near Ives Park, Potsdam. The event will feature a pumpkin stem ring toss, pumpkin crafts, games, candy, healthy Halloween tips and more than 30 local vendors selling fruits, vegetables, meats and other goods. There will also be a 5K fun run starting and ending at the market location at 9 a.m. Registration is just $6 the day of the race.

Sooth your soul in ‘Spa City’ Saratoga Springs: Journey east packs history, arts, culture

Saratoga's famous racetrack is just one of Spa City's many attractions. Courtesy www.saratoga.com

Saratoga’s famous racetrack is just one of Spa City’s many attractions. Courtesy www.saratoga.com

Famous for its racetrack, outdoor summer concerts and mineral springs, the city of Saratoga, less than four hours from the north country, makes a great getaway year-round. Known for a robust arts scene that includes the Opera Saratoga and Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the city’s downtown also bustles with art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. And, only about a 30 minute drive from the Capital Region, a weekend trip to Saratoga will also make it easy to jaunt into the state’s capital for a wider range of shopping or to take a detour for a hike in the Adirondacks coming to or from. [Read more…]

Music is their ‘agenda’: Inspired by loss of friend, musicians come together

Wagner’s Agenda performs during the 2013 KeithFest at Coyote Moon Vineyards, Clayton. The music festival is a benefit concert for Keith E. Brabant, a Clayton resident and lifelong musician who died at the age of 33 in April 2010 and a friend of the members of Wagner’s Agenda. Now in its fourth year, KeithFest raises money for the Keith Brabant Music Scholarship for students who live in Jefferson County. Courtesy Melody Brabant

Wagner’s Agenda performs during the 2013 KeithFest at Coyote Moon Vineyards, Clayton. The music festival is a benefit concert for Keith E. Brabant, a Clayton resident and lifelong musician who died at the age of 33 in April 2010 and a friend of the members of Wagner’s Agenda. Now in its fourth year, KeithFest raises money for the Keith Brabant Music Scholarship for students who live in Jefferson County. Courtesy Melody Brabant

In the past three years, rock band Wagner’s Agenda has made a rapid rise to fame in the north country, now a mainstay at such popular venues as O’Brien’s Restaurant, the John Hoover Inn and Time Warp, and a frequent face at benefit concerts, known for their energetic and lively performances.

The band formed after a benefit concert for friend Keith E. Brabant, a Clayton resident and lifelong musician, shortly after his death at the age of 33 in April 2010. Wagner’s Agenda still performs at the summer benefit, now called KeithFest and in its fourth year, which raises money for the Keith Brabant Music Scholarship for students who live in Jefferson County.

Wagner’s Agenda was originally composed of Ian Wagner, who left shortly after its inception and now plays acoustic guitar locally under the name Ian Wagner Unplugged, Robert Perkins, still the band’s guitar player and violinist, Tom Contino, Justin Reynolds and Gino Cappuccetti—all members of the jazz fusion band Queen August, through which Mr. Cappuccetti and Mr. Perkins have been playing together for about six years. [Read more…]

A sound all their own

Fred & the Eds perform at the Paddock Club, Watertown, while the crowd dances on a recent Friday night. The band has been playing for nearly 20 years. Amanda Morrison/ NNY Living

Fred & the Eds perform at the Paddock Club, Watertown, while the crowd dances on a recent Friday night. The band has been playing for nearly 20 years. Amanda Morrison/ NNY Living

North country favorite Fred & the Eds stands test of time [Read more…]