Friday, June 15, 2018

Forty-Six Years of Frog Jumping Father’s Days

Calaveras County has nothing on Herkimer when it comes to frog jumping contests. For the past forty-six years, fathers and children have been catching and releasing frogs in Old Forge to find the one that will break all the records.

According to the Town of Webb Publicity Director Mike Farmer, the Old Forge Frog Jumping Contest has always been a well-monitored event with plenty of water for the frogs and an immediate release into the nearby Old Forge Pond.

“We normally get around 35-40 kids show up with frogs they’ve found in the area,” says Farmer. “No frogs are every harmed and we make sure the ground is kept cool with hoses and buckets of water close by. We are the Paddling Capital of the Adirondacks so with all our lakes, finding a frog is the easy part.”

Farmer explains that Old Forge is a hub of activity for the weekend due to the annual Classic and Antique Auto Show. People usually coming on Friday to kick off the weekend with the Classic Car Parade, attend Saturday’s show, and top off the events with Sunday’s traditional Father’s Day Ugly Tie and Frog-jumping contest. Prizes are awarded for smallest and largest frogs as well as the longest jump.

“There are no set rules for the tie contest,” says Farmer. “The audience gets to pick the ugliest tie out of this Father’s Day fashion show. Most of the time people design their own ties. These aren’t your usual store bought ties. In the past we have some shocking and outrageous entries.”

The June 17th Father’s Day Frog Jumping Contest starts at noon at the Old Forge waterfront. The whole event takes about 90 minutes, which Farmer believes is part of its appeal. Participants can just make an appearance and get back to enjoying the rest that Old Forge as to offer. There is a very informal mass release of frogs into Old Forge Pond following the competition.

Father’s Day Frog Jumping photo used with permission of Town Of Webb Visitor’s Bureau. 

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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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