By REBECCA WEBSTER
Recorder News Staff
Hundreds gathered on Main Street in the city of Amsterdam Saturday for the Third Annual Spring Fling, and with vendors of all kinds, there was surely something for everyone.
Vendors sold hand-painted glassware, antiques, baked goods, and jewelry, among many other pieces, while others offered reptiles to gaze at, hula-hooping games to try, and even puppies to adopt.
And an entire section of food, from empanadas and pulled pork sandwiches to fried dough and snow cones, delighted the taste-buds of many in attendance.
There offering some of the tasty delights was Chauncey McCormick, owner of Grandma Millie's Bakery in Johnstown, who said she was excited to be part of the Spring Fling for the first time.
"We heard it was greatly attended and it really is," she said. "I can't believe how many people are here today. This is awesome."
Though Saturday was a busy day for the business, it gave McCormick a chance to slow down a bit and reconnect with residents she knew when she used to work in Amsterdam.
"It's been like old-home week. We've been hugging all day," she said laughing. "You have to get out and support the community and all the vendors here are families. This is our way to showcase what we do to people we've never met before."
She said she also wanted citizens to use the day as a reminder to never forget the importance of being a good neighbor.
"Any community event needs to be supported by the community, by the people," she said. "No community events (means) no community loyalties, no family time. (But here) you get to know your neighbors."
There offering her new trade and hoping to connect was Lynette Baker, an independent designer with Origami Owl from Sloansville.
"I just started," she said. "I'm only into my second month now."
Baker said the company is relatively new, but doing very well, and she couldn't wait to share the info with passers-by.
"Basically, you pick a locket and you fill it with charms that tell your story."
She said the day offered her a chance to tell more about the products, but also have fun in the community.
"It's amazing. I've never been to one," she said of the Spring Fling. "It is so much fun, so many different vendors. ... I love these small community events like this. You get to meet a lot of different people and a lot of different types of people, so it's a lot of fun. This is a great thing to do."
For many residents, and visitors, Saturday was just another opportunity to spend a nice time outside with friends.
For Leon York, a Brooklyn resident who was visiting Amsterdam for the weekend, he couldn't believe the event and wished there were more things like it when he comes to visit.
"They should have a lot more. This is the most fun I've had since I've been out here," he said.
Bernadine Amberger and friend Marilyn Vanallen, both from Amsterdam, were spending the afternoon browsing the goods and just enjoying the weather.
"I think it's great. It's a beautiful day. There's a lot of vendors and a lot of different things," Amberger said. "It brings the community out together and gets everybody outside to socialize together. It's just a good day."
And for the officials of the community, the successful day offered them the chance to reflect on years past and what it meant for them and the community. This was what it was like for State Sen. Cecilia Tzaczyk, D-Duanesburg.
"I was here last year as a candidate, trying to get my name out, trying to get myself out to as many people as possible," she said laughing.
Last year she even fell in love with a pooch that the Montgomery County SPCA had brought with them hoping to adopt.
"He was so loving," she said. "I had to have him."
Bayou, he was later named, ended up becoming a part of the Tzaczyk family shortly after.
"I love the Spring Fling. It's great weather. There's so much to see and do here."
The day gave her chance to not only recall the memories, and sample the meatball subs and Cuban sandwiches, but also allowed her a chance to let folks know that she would soon be opening an office with Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, in the Riverfront Center in just a few weeks.
Seeing the steady stream of residents on Main Street was just what city officials were hoping for, too.
Robert von Hasseln, Director of Community and Economic Development for the city, said he felt the day was by far the largest they've seen.
"The key here is we're trying to introduce more of a street festival idea," he said. "We've got more food. We've got more kids activities. We've got more interesting things like the chainsaw demonstration, the whole Red Cross, the wild animals."
Von Hasseln said he expects the event to be even larger next year, spreading further up Market Street or maybe turn up some of Church Street. He is hoping it becomes a regional attraction.
Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane said she was incredibly pleased with the day's turnout.
"I think everybody's had a wonderful day. We've had great weather. So I'm real happy."