CHAMPLAIN - Those who wear their pride of the Samuel de Champlain Quadricentennial on their sleeves can now wear it on their backs, too.
Last week, the Town of Champlain Quadricentennial Committee unveiled a series of shirts designed specifically for the 400th anniversary of Champlain's exploration of the region. The shirts - which come in red, yellow and blue and are adorned by the quadricentennial logo - are being sold for $10 each, with proceeds going to the town of Champlain. White polos which also don the logo are being sold for $20 each.
The idea to sell the shirts came through discussion among committee members on how to promote the year-long celebration, said committee chairman Christopher Trombley. Though the proceeds will benefit the town, the shirts are more meant to be "a symbol of a once in a lifetime event," he said.
"Out of all the materials that will be available during the quad, the shirts are probably the most visible form," said Trombley. "Many people have called already inquiring about the shirts and the logo, which, in turn, sparks their interest."
Celine R. Paquette, vice chairperson of the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission, said she has already heard of interest in the shirts in the town and points beyond.
"People are very excited about them," Paquette said. "I've heard comments about them from as far as Ticonderoga, even."
The interest the shirts generate in the quadricentennial is something Paquette said she hopes will continue to grow, especially with plans for even more quad souvenirs in the works.
"We're having a medallion developed by Danforth Pewter that will have Champlain, his astrolabe and the dates 1609 to 2009 on one side and the quadricentennial logo on the other," said Paquette.
The astrolabe was a navigational device Champlain utilized to explore the region, explained Paquette. The image, which is often associated with tales of Champlain's journeys, will also be featured on a keychain that will also be for sale.
Those souvenirs, said Paquette, will dovetail nicely with a calendar created by David Patrick of Colchester, Vt. The 2009 Champlain Quadricentennial Calendar, which commemorates this year's special event with historic photographs and information, has been available since late last year, further wetting the appetite of collectors and history buffs, she added.
"I'm finding the enthusiasm has been growing," said Paquette. "More people have expressed interest in learning more about this man - Samuel de Champlain."
Other events planned by the Town of Champlain Quadricentennial Committee include a dedication ceremony on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, for a small park being established at Point au Fer. On Sunday, Aug. 2, St. Mary's Church on Church Street will hold a rededication of its Samuel de Champlain monument. The day will also include a Mass at the church led by the Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham, Bishop of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, and special wreath-laying ceremony at the grave of Louis-Camille LaFontaine, the man responsible for the creation of the Champlain monument.
On Saturday, Aug. 8, the town will host "Community Day," which will feature the dedication of the Samuel de Champlain History Center on Elm Street, among several other activities.
The complete listing of North Country quadricentennial events is available at www.discoverlakechamplain400.org. For more information, visit www.exploreny400.com.