POTSDAM — James Murray has lived here all his life, but he’s never grown tired of the annual Potsdam Summerfest.
In fact, he described the three-day event as his “favorite time of year.”
Glorious sunshine on Saturday was the icing on the cake.
“You can’t get any better,” the Potsdam native said, referring to the day’s beautiful weather. “It’s bright and there’s a breeze.“
Mr. Murray was joined by his wife, Sally, and two granddaughters, Kiara, 13, and Emily, 10.
Speaking to his granddaughters, he said, “This is Papa’s favorite day of the year.”
The sights, sounds and smells of summer filled downtown where crowds of people gathered for the 52nd annual Potsdam Summerfest.
The hub of activity was a section of Market Street where visitors stopped at sidewalk sales, listened to live music, visited with vendors and enjoyed food truck fare like barbecued pork, hot dogs, fries, snow cones, German sausages and more.
Crowds also headed to nearby Ives Park which was filled with vendors selling locally-grown food as well as hand-crafted jewelry, fabric handbags, handmade soaps, pottery, woodwork, crafts, artwork and more. Live bands, dancing groups and others performed in the gazebo. A bounce house was a popular stop for children and kayaking was available at the community’s boat launch along the scenic Racquette River.
Car enthusiasts headed to the car show in a corner of Ives Park where they found a range of vintage cars, including Model T Fords, convertibles as well as some new models.
Attending the car show together is a tradition for William D. Moulder and his son, William L. Moulder, 17.
“We come every year,” the older Mr. Moulder said. “We both love cars. I can’t afford to buy anything, but we love seeing them.”
A 1967 Camaro and a 2014 Mustang were among their favorites on display.
Canines also had a chance to have some fun at the DockDogs jumping contest at the Potsdam Agway.
Julia Pahler, Potsdam, was wearing a T-shirt inscribed, “Dog Mom.” She was joined by her black labrador, Milo, who leaped into the pool of water to grab a toy that was thrown from the dock.
“I think it’s fun that they do this for the animal lovers,” Ms. Pahler said. “This is our second time here. He swims all the time.”
Bob and Jean Chambers signed up their Golden Retrievers, Gracie and Hannah for the contest. The Rochester couple drove to Potsdam from their camp in Cranberry Lake.
“It’s our third time here. We like to visit with the people and see the other dogs,” Mr. Chambers said.
Visitors to Potsdam also shopped for bargains at garage sales, including one at the Potsdam Rescue Squad and another at the nearby Potsdam United Methodist Church. The Potsdam Public Library offered a book sale and several downtown merchants offered sales.
Roxanne Cliff, a coordinator of the Potsdam Rescue Squad Sale, said the summerfest is an ideal time to hold the sale because such a large number of people are downtown for summerfest activities and reunion events at local colleges. She expected the sale would raise between $1,000 and $1,500 for the rescue squad. More than a dozen bicycles were on sale for $1 each.
“We have a lot of regular customers and sometimes people just stop and give us a donation,” she said. “This year we asked community members for donations for the first time so we have a larger variety of items.”