CHESTER - Although North Country residents are no strangers to parties, Tax Day brought a rare phenomenon to upper Warren County - political protests.
Nearly 100 people fed up with the state of government showed up April 15 on the Chester Municipal Center lawn to help stage a "Tea Party" protest in the manner of the Boston uprising that was a turning point in U.S. history.
A dozen or so did likewise in front of Warrensburg Town Hall.
The protesters had a long list of complaints, whether it was spiralling taxes, encroaching government, excessive regulation, creeping socialism, misused bailouts, government land-use control, giving freedom to political detainees, restrictions on firearms, the rising tide of illegal immigrants, or even the local law enforcement of the Lake George Park Commission.
But the rally's prime focus was indisputably on high taxes and the tightening grip of government.
Chester rally organizer Ava Ashendorff recounted the sins of the expanding U.S. federal bureaucracy in a lively, lengthy give-and-take with her audience.
"Let's unite for the common purpose of putting the brakes on government ideas that don't suit Americans," she said. "We're mad as hell and we're not gonna take it anymore."
The audience caught the fervor.
Lorna Paladin listened to Ashendorff and offered her opinion.
"This country was built on rugged independence," she said. "It's about time we start rising up against the dictatorship being handed to us."
Val Cutler of Stony Creek, said the U.S. was now straying from its founding principles.
"It's horrible - they've taken all our rights away, and I want them back," Cutler said.
Skip Stranahan of Lake George agreed.
"The politicians have walked away from the Constitution, made their own laws, and now disaster has set in," he said.
A man standing next to Stranahan echoed the point.
"You'll see the wrath of God coming down on our government if we don't step up and take control," he said.
William Cameron of Brant Lake, a Navy veteran, said the trillions of dollars spent on bailing out the economy, government taxation, and Obama's leniency with Guantanamo prisoners were his main concerns.
"This wild spending has to stop - that's why I'm here," he said. "I'm disgusted with out President and the things those politicians are coming up with."
Wendy Cappella of Chester said creeping socialism was her chief complaint.
"What about free markets, instead of the freeloaders," she said.
Susan Lintner of Pottersville said she drew on her experience organizing protests in the 1960s to helped Ashendorff launch her anti-tax rally.
"I'm here with a lot of other people who are frustrated because we need a voice and don't know what to do,' she said.
She and Ashendorff said they'd be sending messages to legislators and politicians in Albany and Washington D.C. to make their concerns heard.
"We can effect change," Ashendorff said, adding that she and Lintner might hold another rally on Independence Day. "We've allowed the government trample on us all these years, and it's time we tell them we've had enough."