Monday, July 12, 2010

Summertime Brings Plenty to Do on Community Calendars

The past week brought our first bona fide heat wave of consecutive 90 degree days in a few years. The weather brought many families out to our lakeshore beaches, riverfronts and pools to cool off. Others sought and found comfort in air conditioned stores, restaurants and homes.

Our weather is often what draws attention to Central and Northern New York, though usually it’s the cold and the snow. However, every local resident, along with thousands of families that visit Lake Ontario or the Thousand Islands each year, know that our summers have a great deal to offer and there’s always more each year.

Of course, with Agriculture as our number one industry, our county fairs are important each year. Oswego County’s fair in Sandy Creek on the first week of July was a great success and I’m looking forward to Jefferson County’s fair in Watertown this week. In August, St. Lawrence County will have its fair in Gouverneur. These events showcase the best in Agriculture each year and provide entertainment for the whole family.

The village of Adams in southern Jefferson County put agriculture on display also last week, by linking the celebration of new investment to the first Cheddar Cheese Festival. I had the opportunity to join the owners of the Great Lakes Cheese Company for the ribbon cutting at an $80 million expansion that will have close to a billion dollar impact for the region by pasteurizing close to 130,000 pounds of milk every hour. That scope of operation provides a consistent local market for our dairy farmers and jobs for another 65 to 85 people at the plant itself.

There is much to celebrate with an announcement like that, and my hope is that like the success of each fall’s Cream Cheese Festival in Lowville, we see the Cheddar Cheese Festival grow each year to continue celebrating our rich agricultural heritage and fine products. It was heritage at the center of the party in Cape Vincent, my hometown, where I went after Adams to join in the French Festival. Always a great time, the event again drew thousands into my small hometown for a parade led by Napoleon, good food, entertainment and fireworks.

Summertime brings many opportunities to bring the family out for an affordable good time. Be it this past weekend’s Carthage Community Fireworks Festival or the Granby Family Fun Days next weekend, each community seems to always bring people together each summer. It’s one of the great things we have each summer in Central and Northern New York. We can all look forward to community events, new events such as the Henderson Harbor Waterfront Festival, and the mainstays, including Harborfest in Oswego, the Can-Am Festival in Sackets Harbor and the Ogdensburg International Seaway Festival.

So as the weather returns to normal, I hope everyone has the opportunity to spend time with their family and friends at one of these events, supporting the local community and having a great time in the process.

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