Saturday, July 27, 2013

Indian Lake NY makes national news

Governor Cuomo’s Inaugural Adirondack Challenge, a week of events and activities celebrating Adirondack rivers, lakes and streams that culminated twice, once on Sunday, and then again on Monday July 22 in Indian Lake got off to a slow start on Saturday when there seemed to be only a few extra people in town to enjoy the town’s streets, restaurants, stores, and public places with many things to do, taste or see.
Some of the lack of action on Friday, the lead in day to the weekend festivities was probably due to the unseasonably warmth in the afternoon, which was followed by a rainstorm in the evening that cut short the Adk Challenge Square Dance, with music provided by the Upstate New Yorkers and held in the parking lot of the closed grocery store at the center of town
Saturday was a little better than Friday but late morning and early afternoon showers might have kept some visitors away - or maybe they were waiting for the big events on Sunday.
Whatever the cause, an average summer crowd seemed to enjoy the Summer Bash at Byron Park where the Nights of Columbus held a chicken BBQ and where there where many activities for children and their parents to enjoy.
Saturday concluded with a well attended concert by the popular Fulton Chain Gang in the center of town parking lot.
Festivities went into high gear on Sunday with much improved weather and the Adirondack Challenge Flatwater Canoe Race, promoted and organized by Brian McDonnell, AWA Race Director and MAC'S Canoe Livery owner.
The nearly 15 mile race started promptly at 10 a.m. on Indian Lake and featured 100 competitors from across the U.S. and Canada.
Sending the paddlers on their way from the start at the Indian Lake Islands state boat launch were DEC Region 5 Director Robert Stegemann, Hamilton Country Board of Supervisors Chairman William Farber, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens and race organizer Brian McDonnell.
The big event of the day was the Governor’s Invitational Whitewater Race, featuring Governor Cuomo and other state and local elected officials on Indian River.
The race had teams of six rafting
Cuomo said, “The Adirondack Challenge is designed to highlight all of what the Adirondacks region has to offer to New Yorkers and visitors – and it is also a friendly competition on the beautiful Indian River. Today’s events illustrate firsthand the natural wonders of the Adirondacks.”
The Governor’s own team include Governor Cuomo, his daughters Cara and Michaela, Secretary to the Governor Larry Schwartz, and Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights Alphonso David.
Other teams participating included Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy’s team, Senate team, Senator Betty Little’s Team, the Assembly team and county teams from Erie County, Onondaga County, Albany County, Suffolk County, Hamilton County, Essex County, St. Lawrence County, Franklin County, State Agency Commissioner 1, State Agency Commissioner 2, SUNY, Legislative Correspondents of Albany 1, Legislative Correspondents of Albany 2, Legislative Correspondents of Albany 3, North Country Regional Economic Development Council, Central New York Regional Economic Development Council, Labor Industry, Tourism Industry 1, Tourism Industry 2
The race covered about 3 miles on the Indian River to the confluence of the Hudson.
And the winner was the Governor’s team!
While the rafting was going on, Indian Lake was hopping with visitors, especially at Byron Park where the activities included the Taste of NY tent for samples of many NYS local products, three live bands playing throughout the day, classic Adirondack guide boat and canoe displays by several local Adirondack craftsmen, many children’s activities including the Bounce House, Wildlife Demonstration and Smokey the Bear.
The town of Indian Lake’s street activities included a classic and antique car show, food vendors, a craft & vendor show on the Indian Lake Central School lawn, a Writer’s & Artisan event at the Abanakee Studios and the music of Reynolds & Dunn in the center of town.
Of course, with the Governor in town, there were two separate but small groups of people protesting New York’s response to gun violence, the SAFE Act, which many believe is a violation of the Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
One group was on Rt. 28 at the westside of Byron Park. The other group was a Chain Lakes Road where the buses taking the rafters needed to pass by on their way to the put in on the Indian Lake River.
Monday was a bonus day hasty scheduled so that NYC Mayor Bloomberg who was unable to attend the Sunday race could compete against Governor Cuomo and other officials.
Except for the staging area that took place at Indian Lake Central School, would not have known anything special was goin on.
 Cuomo said, "We had a lot of fun, there was a serious purpose to it, obviously, which was about getting the word out about the Adirondacks, increasing tourism. Tourism is big business for the state."
Town of Indian Lake Activities Coordinator Vonnie Liddle said, "We are hoping that this brings a lot of business into our community. The governor chose Indian Lake for the Adirondack Challenge this year and we are hoping people will come and see that they can have a fun time here.
Farber said, “We are so proud and excited for this opportunity. The Challenge will continue and include more whitewater and flatwater races, and mountain biking races.”
Whether or not next year will see a similar Adirondack Challenge taking place in the middle of summer or if it will be a series of events with the Adirondack Challenge spread out between the spring and the fall is yet to be determined, said Farber.
No matter what direction the Adirondack Challenge takes, one thing is certain. Everyone agrees Indian Lake and Hamilton County became big news if only for a few days and many came and saw for the first time the beauty of the county and its people.
Olympia Sonnier, Deputy Press Secretary at the Governor’s Office and who coordinated the press at the event, left loving the people of Indian Lake. Sonnier said, “The people up here are so friendly. I loved being here.”
Gov. Cuomo in middle of photo

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