Members of the Lawn Chair Ladies perform an opening number for the Daffest Derby last year.
This was no video game. Kids of all ages drove their soap box derby cars down the LaPan Highway Saturday, April 28, trying not to bump into their competitors, or worse, the crowds hovering around the hay bales lining the course.
Friday, May 4
•11:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.: Jail and Bail for BULBS! The Daffest Police will have warrants in hand and hand an will be “arresting” all the colorful characters who have been selected by their friends, family or co-workers. To have someone arrested just call Janie @ 637-4990 or LeeAnn Baker @ 586-1573 or 586-1573. The “bail” will be $25. All proceeds will buy daffodil bulbs to be planted in public places around the village.
•1 p.m.: Wigmore Garden Tour. View the expansive Wigmore Gardens in full daffodil bloom on the shores of Oseetah Lake. More than 3,000 daffodil bulbs are surrounded by thousands of other flower varieties along with towering trees. Transportation will be provided from the Chamber Booth at Riverside Park.
Saturday, May 5
•All weekend: Plein air artists will be painting throughout the village.
•10 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Planting Clinic and Perennial Swap at Willy Nilly on Lake Flower Avenue. Hosted by Dana Fast, the "McMaster" Gardener, and Shelly Hough, owner/ operator Willy Nilly. All perennials must be already divided and labeled and delivered by 10 a.m. People will be given "swapping" points for their plants. The swap will take place at 11 a.m. There will be gardening, composting and planting tips from master gardeners Dana Fast, Shelly Hough and Cornell Cooperative Extension.
•7:30 p.m.: Saranac Village at Will Rogers will host a Le Groove Jazz Concert with dessert reception and tours following. A $5 donation is requested.
Sunday, May 6
•DAFF_ART! This exhibit opens May 6 and runs to May 13. Saranac Lake ArtWorks is going to put on an exhibit at multiple locations from the Adirondack Artists Guild, at 52 Main St., to NorthWind Fine Art and Piece by Piece Studio at 36 Broadway. Members of ArtWorks will be creating daffodil related art in all sorts of different media: watercolors, oils, photography, ceramics, fiber art and more. Plein air artists’ creations will be available for sale at the Adirondack Artist Guild.
Weather for the second annual Daffest Derby race was much drier than the inaugural run in 2011, when rain dampened the course but not the 78 drivers’ spirits. This year, 93 racers competed in front of a large crowd in the sunshine. Even a stiff, cold breeze couldn’t wipe the smiles off their faces.
“Not only are we all kids at heart (that's what keeps us young and energetic) we all love our kids, so this event allows ‘kids’ of all ages to participate,” said Daffest organizer Cherrie Sayles after the race. “And did they ever. Our second year of the Daffest Derby was an awesome success with overwhelming response from the crowd.”
There were four classes in the soap box derby race: ages 5 to 8 , 9 to 12, 13 to 15 and 16 and older. Here are the winners:
•5-8: first place, Adrian Hayden, Saranac Lake; second place, Jack Lawrence, Lake Placid; and third place, Collin Farrington, Port Douglas.
•9-12: first place, Logan Branch, Saranac Lake; second place, Marshal Moore, Saranac Lake; and third place, Gavin Woods, Bloomingdale.
•13-15: first place, Brooke Beau Dion, Norfolk; second place, Katrina Durant, Norfolk; and third place, Adam Branch, Saranac Lake.
•16 and older: Gold, Tucker West, Lake Placid; Silver, Tristan Jeskanen, Peru; and Bronze, Aiden Kelly, Lake Placid. All these racers were from USA Luge, which set up a booth at Riverside Park.
Sayles predicts that there will be more than 100 soap box derby cars at the 2013 Daffest Derby.
“People are already building derby cars in their head and asking where to get kits,” Sayles said. “We have a great event here that is going to grow year after year.”
Other first weekend festivities included live music, face painting, vendors and a pastry contest.
“People were also raving about Friday night's Pastry Contest,” Sayles said. “Sarah Curtis entered a lemon cookie that everyone was still talking about when she stepped up and rocked the national anthem (at the Daffest Derby).”
Learn more about Daffest online at www.daffest.com.