Participants in the 2013 Brant Lake Winter Carnival try their hand at the sport of curling. In its debut year, the Winter Carnival featured outhouse races, snowshoe softball, broomball and flag hockey competition, snow-sculpting, Frisbee golf, an ice-fishing tournament, ice bowling and an expo of vintage snowmobiles. Remarkably popular in its debut year, plans are proceeding for the 2014 edition, set for Feb. 8. Organized by the Tri-Lakes Business Alliance, the event attracted more than 400 people. Photo by Brandon Himoff
Plans have been aired to launch new events in northern Warren County and to pursue new initiatives that draw more visitors into the rural hamlets to boost the prospects of local businesses.
The concepts and events under development were dicussed at a Dec. 13 meeting of the Tri-Lakes Business Alliance, which has experienced remarkable success to date in boosting the upcounty economy and spurring the social and cultural activity in Chestertown, Pottersville and Brant Lake.
Among the new ideas aired were to expand existing holiday celebrations held in Chestertown as well as promoting New Years Eve celebrations at restaurants and taverns in northern Warren County this next week.
Members of the Tri-Lakes Business Alliance have proposed to increase family-oriented activities at the combined Taste of the Tri-Lakes fest and the Chestertown Memory Tree Lighting ceremony, which was highly successful this year.
At a meeting of the Alliance held Dec. 13, it was suggested that the group organize a Christmas parade and townwide caroling — plus offer holiday-themed shows and movies in the Carol Theatre to accompany the existing popular activities.
Cindy Mead of the Alliance said the concepts discussed were promising.
“All ideas will be given thorough consideration,” she said.
The 2013 Taste of the Tri-Lakes, held Dec. 3 in conjunction with the Chestertown Rotary Club’s Memory Tree lighting event, was a great success, area entrepreneurs reported. The event’s sampling of fine specialty dishes provided by area restaurants netted $1,029 for the Alliance. Appreciation was expressed to all the restaurants who participated, the Scout troops, the Chestertown Rotary, Circle B Ranch for providing horse-drawn wagon rides, to Stone Bridge & Caves for providing s’mores and thanks also to the various musical groups who entertained.
The event had a robust turnout, with a crowd sharing memories of people important in their lives as well as caroling, while others sampled gourmet food. The local Rotary Club donated $300 to the Alliance to boost their extensive lineup of community events they have launched with remarkable success during the last 18 months or so.
Plans advance for new local craft festival
The concept of holding a craft festival in Chestertown the day after Thanksgiving beginning in 2014 has gained some traction. Fred Holman of the Art in Chestertown Gallery and the North Country Arts Center will be heading a committee — along with Jesika Beckler, Linda Muench and Mary Jane Dower — to organize the craft show and sale.
Initial plans call for local crafters — including several who were vendors in the Chestertown Farmers Market — to be set up throughout town and in various establishments demonstrating their talents and selling their wares. Anyone seeking information on this holiday craft market may contact Fred at 803-4034.
Outhouse racers, get ready!
The Brant Lake Winter Carnival, which was incredibly popular in its debut edition last year, is scheduled for Saturday Feb. 8. It has been noted that the Carnival’s outhouse races in its first year had more entrants and lively action than its famed counterpart in Lake George had in its second decade.
Taverns, businesses, clubs and families are urged to prepare their outhouses now, well in advance of the winter carnival. This year’s event requires pre-registration so the Alliance can plan a race schedule in advance.
Horicon Fire Department members have been invited to play snowshoe softball again — as they did in 2013, with the firefighters competing against the North Warren High School softball team. Other groups interested are urged to contact an Alliance member if they too seek to participate.
Community groups and businesses are also urged to develop plans for either floats or marching units for the 2014 North Warren St. Patrick’s Day Parade, scheduled for March 8 in Chestertown. Another upcoming local event is the Northern Warren Trailblazers Snowmobile Poker Run, set for Feb. 2.
It was noted that the fourth annual Bob “Wimpy” Whitford Ice Fishing Tournament is to be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 on Brant Lake. The cost of the tournament is $20, and proceeds go towards a scholarship in Whitford’s name. For details, contact Keith Wilkinson at 588-5136.
Signs sought to boost local commerce
Also discussed was the ongoing effort to erect informational signs on state Rtes. 8 and 9, as local business leaders in northern Warren County have said better signage is needed to direct motorists on the Northway to available local services.
It was decided to recruit more support for additional informational signs.
Don Butler, a founder of the Alliance, volunteered to seek the support of the Greater Warrensburg Business Alliance and the North Creek alliance, while Barb Thomas will be seeking to convince the area chambers of commerce to get involved.
Alliance to promote group tours
It was noted at the meeting that the Town of Chester is now seeking volunteers to serve on the Chestertown Recreation Strategy Advisory Group.
Greg Beckler will volunteer as a representative from the Tri-Lakes Business Alliance as the group shares objectives with the new committee.
Also, Beckler is heading up the Alliance’s group tour promotion committee that also has parallel aims. Area attractions, eateries and lodging accommodations are collaborating on drafting itineraries and group packages to draw visitors to northern Warren County to our area and the many attractions and activities, including Stone Bridge & Caves, the Railroads on Parade model train expo, plus golf, fishing, boating, and horseback riding.
Community Day at Stone Bridge & Caves
It was noted that Natural Stone Bridge & Caves of Pottersville is holding a free Community Day on Saturday, Jan. 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. During this event, residents of Warren and Essex counties are welcome to explore their 12+miles of groomed trails at no charge. Bonfires and the hospitality of the Beckler Family should make this an enjoyable day, Alliance members noted. Stone Bridge has snowshoes to rent for $5 for those that need them.
Master Plan sought to boost commerce
Another topic of discussion at the Alliance meeting was the ongoing effort to encourage more businesses to open up and flourish in downtown Chestertown.
Alliance members suggested that a town Master Plan would be helpful in this regard, and a consensus was reached to lobby the town board to develop a Master Plan and pursue other business-friendly measures.
The next meeting of the Tri-Lakes Business Alliance is set for 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 27 at the Panther Mountain Inn.