TAUNY will hold the 24th Annual Salute to North Country Heritage on Sunday, October 16th to honor the 2016 North Country Heritage Award recipients. This event will be held at The TAUNY Center in Downtown Canton from 2-4 pm, and is free and open to the public.
This years recipients are The Adirondack Playboys Band, Lowville, Lewis County; 4-H Camp Overlook, Mountain View, Franklin County; the St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum, Madrid, St. Lawrence County; and philanthropist Allan P. Newell, Hammond, St. Lawrence County.
TAUNY’s North Country Heritage Awards recognize individuals, families, and community groups who demonstrate evidence of traditionality, mastery, and creative commitment to their art form over time, and a commitment to their community and the teaching of others. They also recognize sites in North Country that are special to the life of those communities, have served multiple generations over time, are community gathering places, meet a community’s social, spiritual, economic or entertainment needs, and are a factor in community or regional identity. The program was established by TAUNY founder and folklorist Varick Chittenden in 1993.
This year’s Inherited Traditions Award Recipient is The Adirondack Playboys Band, which has been a performing dance band for more than sixty years. The band’s name is a takeoff of the famous Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys of the 1940s, but the group’s real inspiration and musical style comes from the rich musical heritage of Northern New York and the foothills of the Adirondacks. Today, the family band features an original member, Cliff Streeter, as well as three of his nieces and nephews, and a local drummer. The Adirondack Playboys Band performs at barn dances, VFWs, legion halls, public concerts, and private venues throughout Oneida, Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
Since 1945 children from Franklin and St. Lawrence counties have spent part of their summer vacations at an old great camp/hotel site in the northern foothills of the Adirondacks at 4-H Camp Overlook, this year’s recipient of the Register of Very Special Places Award. It was first a private great camp built by a New York Central Railroad magnate, then an Adirondack hotel for vacationers before being established as a summer camp by a group of 4-H leaders in 1945. The camp hosts weekly sessions through the summer and teaches life skills: outdoor education, archery, sailing, canoeing, boating, swimming, aquatics, and crafts. Currently, the camp is jointly operated by the two Cornell Cooperative Extensions of St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties.
One of this year’s Evergreen Award Recipients, The St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum in Madrid, began as the St. Lawrence Gas & Steam Association in 1976 as a group of local farmers interested in preserving and teaching about the changing technology of machinery including antique engines, tractors, and related farm equipment. The group organizes two festivals each year — the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Exhibition in early June and Old Fashioned Harvest Days on Labor Day weekend — to demonstrate old equipment performing common tasks like planting crops, cutting hay, grinding corn, or washing clothes. They were given the Goolden-Mann farm in Madrid in 2006 and have continued to build the living history museum with the 1,000 or so members and a core group of passionate volunteers.
Philanthropist Allan P. Newell of Hammond earns this year’s North Country Heritage Evergreen Award for his continuous support of many aspects of North Country history and folk culture. Allan P. Newell was one of the original members of the Board of Directors of TAUNY, having now served continuously for 30 years. A supporter of many different organizations and causes in the North Country, his generous philanthropy has helped start or sustain numerous invaluable projects. Allan is also recognized as a dedicated art collector and his collection of regional art and folk art in particular is unmatched.
More information about TAUNY’s North Country Heritage Awards, including past recipients, interviews, and photos, is available here.
The TAUNY Center is located at 53 Main Street, downtown Canton. TAUNY is a nonprofit organization that showcases the folk culture and living traditions of New York’s North Country, offering opportunities to experience, learn about, and reflect on issues related to life in our rural region. More information is available here. tauny.org.
Photo: The 2016 North Country Heritage Award recipients (counterclockwise from top right): The Adirondack Playboys Band, 4-H Camp Overlook, St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum, Allan P. Newell.