Award-winning Balloon Sculptor Daryl Baldwin of Gloversville hands a chainsaw he created to Eddie King of Staten Island, while Jacquee Rundell of Chestertown admires his creation, during the recent Summerfest fair in Chestertown.
Due to the oppressive heat, Chestertown’s annual Summerfest had a slow start Saturday, but the large crowd that turned out as the sun slumped in the sky had plenty of fun well into the night, event organizers reported this week.
The largest lineup of vendors in Summerfest’s history were on site on the town recreation field — but through the afternoon, few people were turning out to browse among their wares.
However, the evening crowd that gathered enjoyed live music by singer-songwriter Steven L Smith, dancing, fireworks, plus a children’s tug of war competition, a mini petting zoo and other family-friendly activities.
The vendors that stayed late were rewarded for their patience, event organizer Pam Morin said, noting that the sausage & pepper sandwich vendor sold out late in the day. Teens representing the Chester-Horicon Youth Commission and the North Warren High School Field Hockey team reportedly fared well in their food concessions.
For the tug of war contest, Morin recruited pre-teens to represent their local hometown fire companies of Pottersville, Horicon and Chestertown.
Several dozen children volunteered, and the competition was spirited. Six at a time on each side — in several heats — the children strained their muscles to win honors for their fire agency, said Keisha Smith, who supplied the rope for the battle of strength.
“The kids were energetic and enthusiastic — and there was a lot of cheering,” she said.
The Chestertown youth team won the contest, and they passed along the $50 cash prize donated by Painted Pony Rodeo to the Chestertown Fire Co.
The Chestertown firefighters as well as members of the Horicon fire company manned the free bounce rides offered.
Stationed next to them, Daryl Baldwin sculpted nearly anything one could imagine, from an octopus or a monkey in a tree to a gumball machine. For Chloe Bradley of Chestertown, he fashioned a giant cherry bomb.
Chloe admired Baldwin’s work as he sculpted a full scuba diving outfit, including tanks, using nearly a dozen balloons. Baldwin then fit it around the child’s head and shoulders as others admired his work.
“This guy is absolutely amazing,” she said.
Her friend Sarah Stewart agreed.
“It’s an awesome way to make a living,” Chloe said. “I can make a worm and that’s about it.”
Earlier in the day, Horicon Fire Co. member Ed Jay, stationed nearby at the bounce house, had watched Baldwin —an award-winning balloon sculptor — fashion a large motorcycle with big tires, high-rise handlebars, engine and frame, plus a bulbous gas tank.
“It was really cool,” Jay said. “That guy’s got talent.”
Later, Morin said that she would be devising more children’s activities for next year’s Summerfest, building on the success of the 2013 edition.
“Bringing families together on the Fourth of July weekend to recognize veterans and celebrate our nation’s independence is great,” she said. “And if we can have fun in the process, it’s fantastic.”