Whitehall Festival gearing up to kick off summer

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File photo. Seven-year-old Marianna Torres, left, had her face decorated by Osen Beayon of O Wow Creations during last year’s Whitehall Festival. This year’s festivities will take place June 22.

By EJ Conzola II

NYVT Media

WHITEHALL—The Whitehall community won’t wait long after the official start of summer to launch its slate of activities for the season.

The list of events and activities begins just two days after the first day of summer with the annual Whitehall Festival on June 22 and ends the weekend after autumn moves in with the Sasquatch Festival and Calling Contest on Sept. 28. In the days between, the community will host a variety of events, including concerts, a parade, a museum gala and a townwide yard sale.

“There will be a lot of things going on in Whitehall this summer,” said Cheryl Putorti, president of the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce, which is sponsoring or helping organize many of the events. “It’s really coming together nicely this year.”

The summer events will start with a literal bang when a fireworks display caps off the Whitehall Festival on June 22. The festival, which will take place from 2 p.m. to roughly 9:30 p.m. in Skenesborough Park, will feature a variety of vendors and food, games, a DJ and live music.

The menu for the festival will include “a big array of all kinds of food” prepared by local organizations, as well as several food trucks, Putorti said. The ever-popular cake booth, which has historically had people queuing up well before it opens at 6 p.m., will also return with a variety of baked goods prepared by local artisans going to the lucky winners of a spin-the-wheel game.

Funds raised by the booth will help pay for next year’s fireworks display.

The festival will also feature the first of the summer’s Music Series, with the Whiskey River Band performing in the park’ amphitheater from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., when fireworks will begin to light up the sky.

The display will be bigger than in years past, Putorti said, thanks to a fundraising effort that generated a great deal of support from local businesses and community members.

The music series will also feature four additional acts, thanks to a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts Statewide Community Regrant Program, administered by the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council, Putorti said. The other performances will feature the Gregson Brothers Band on July 17, the North Country Jazz Project on July 19, the Old Friends Band on Aug. 2, and the Hartford Community Band on Aug. 9.

All concerts are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., with all but the Jazz Project performance taking place in the bandstand in Riverside Park, weather permitting. The jazz performance will take place on the lawn next to the Skenesborough Museum in conjunction with the museum’s fundraising gala.

All of the concerts, including the Jazz Project’s, are free. In case of inclement weather, the performances will take place in the municipal office building across the street from the park.

The museum gala will offer refreshments, guided tours of the museum and other activities. Tickets for the gala are $23 for an individual and $40 for a couple and are available at the museum, the Railyard Taproom and Restaurant or by calling 518-222-5593.

Other events on Whitehall’s summer calendar include a parade marking the centennial of Whitehall Elks Lodge 1491 – part of a weeklong series of events celebrating the lodge’s 100th anniversary – and the Our Lady of Hope summer festival, both on July 20; a townwide yard sale on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, and the Sasquatch Festival on Sept. 28.

The latter event drew more than 3,500 people last year – roughly the population of the town – and even more are expected this year, Putorti said.

“It has grown to be quite the event,” she said.

Putting on all these events requires a lot of effort, and the chamber is always looking for volunteers to help out, Putorti said. Anyone interested in stepping up to help ensure the summer season is a success can call her at 518-222-5593.