Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Saranac Lake Daffest

There have been all sorts of numbers being bantered about regarding the number of daffodil bulbs planted for the 1st annual Daffest in Saranac Lake April 29- May 1, 2011. Organizer Cherrie Sayles knows for sure.

“Last fall volunteers and organizers planted 51,000 bulbs for the first Daffest,” says Sayles. ” There are a lot of numbers out there but we have a great start. Our goal is to plant a million bulbs.”

The idea for Daffest originated with Sayles after she attended the Ottawa Tulip Festival and was thinking of ways people celebrate spring in the Adirondacks.

“You can just see little green spikes poking out of the ground,” Sayles announces. “We planted 2,500 bulbs at the triangle between Lake Flower Ave. and River St. and 4,500 around Riverside Park, where all the festivities will take place. Volunteers planted 500 bulbs in Denny Park and 1,500 bulbs along the Saranac Lake River Walk as a memorial to people’s loved ones. There are even more in various neighborhoods around Saranac Lake.”

Throughout the weekend there will be garden tours, historic tours and the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce will have a booth with a map available. The event and activities are evolving so quickly Sayles admits she is overwhelmed by the positive response from not only Saranac Lake but the surrounding communities.

“We all need something to look forward to after our long winters,” admits Sayles.

There are many families activities to choose from with horse and wagon rides with Paul Smith’s Draft Horse Club, boat tours and a soapbox derby. Official soapbox derby kits are available at Carcuzzi or online but Sayles wants to assure participants that as long the the wheels are regulation, anything goes.

“We have about 45 slots filled and 30 cars sold already and only taking 60,” Sayles, ” There are four age classes and two children will start at the same time. The route will start at the George LaPan Highway Overpass (by Harrietstown Town Hall) and continue to the red light at the bottom of the hill.”

For the inaugural event, people are encouraged to walk through town and taste submissions and vote for what is to become the signature Daffest pastry.

Sunday is a dedicated doggy day with all proceeds benefiting the Tri-Lakes Humane Society (a no-kill shelter). On the schedule is a doggie parade, costume show and an opportunity to adopt a pet.

Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters will be presenting kayak demos, Blue Line Sports is holding Fly Fishing demos and North Country Community College will demonstrate wilderness cooking and compass reading demonstration. There is more to come. I can’t even keep the schedule up to date,” Sayles laughs.

There is no need to worry if daffodils weren’t ordered last year. Scott Florist will continue to place orders through the fall so anyone can received the official Daffest bulbs. People can also continue to donate bulbs in the name of a loved one.

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Diane Chase

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

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