By CASEY CROUCHER
Thousands of area residents are expected to gather on Main Street Saturday for the city's annual Spring Fling.
"This event is so instrumental in spotlighting our downtown," Mayor Ann Thane said. "It's important to businesses and it's important to our residents."
This year's chief organizer, Sherri Crouse, said the festival is the biggest yet, and she hasn't minded the extra work involved.
"I helped out at Spring Fling the first year when one of the organizers needed help," Crouse said. "I was asked to help again last year, and this year, my third year, I'm organizing it. It's a lot of work but I don't mind because it's something that brings the people together."
Crouse said the event brings people downtown to check out the different businesses and see what's going on.
"People get to see new businesses, old businesses and maybe empty storefronts that they might consider for themselves," she said. "The Spring Fling gets people on Main Street, which is important because it's not a usual travel destination. So it works in all ways."
For the first time, The Recorder is a major sponsor for Saturday's event.
Publisher Kevin McClary said the community's hometown newspaper is sponsoring Spring Fling in an attempt to "help bring people together downtown."
Robert Kosineski Sr., owner of the newspaper, said the event is very positive one for the community.
"There's a lot of room for growth in that area of the city and Spring Fling is a nice way to show people what Amsterdam has," Kosineski said.
McClary said people don't normally give Amsterdam's Main Street the attention it deserves.
"Main Street is just a traffic pattern to get people through the city," McClary said. "It's nice when people can take the time to enjoy what's down there."
Thane also said Spring Fling helps get Main Street businesses noticed.
"Spring Fling is a good time for everyone," she said. "It's obviously always a benefit when friends, family and neighbors share a pleasant afternoon talking, laughing and having a good time, but it's really important to the businesses."
Thane was particularly impressed with Sharp Shooters Billiards and Sports Bar and doesn't think it gets enough attention at its East Main Street location.
"The pool hall downtown called Sharp Shooters is just beautiful," she said. "There's a nice dining area and bar and the pool tables in the back of the building are just beautiful. Maybe people will venture into the pool hall and other businesses during and after Spring Fling. That's what this festival is all about, having fun and getting our local businesses noticed."
She said the event also makes people aware of the city's history, including the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
"Some people don't even realize that our city is the home of the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame," she said. "Because the hall of fame induction is the same weekend of Spring Fling, people will have the opportunity to check it out, which is great. Everybody loves to learn more about their city."
Crouse said this year's Spring Fling will have more than 100 vendors.
"This event has really improved compared to its first year," she said. "The first year was like a glorified craft fair. Now we've got so many more attractions. It's just a nice way to get people outside and doing something in the city since there isn't much going on here."
Some featured attractions this year include nine-hole miniature golf, the 13th annual Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction weekend, face painting, a Broadway Choppers motorcycle show, concerts from 3 of a Kind Band and Sawyer Frederick, music from DJ Justin, three bounce houses, a psychic medium, and a dunk booth.
Crouse said she won't be the one being dunked, but she would if she could.
"I can't do everything and be everywhere at once, but if I didn't have to organize this event then I'd taunt people to throw balls at me and try to dunk me," she said.
Spring Fling will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Main and Market streets. Crouse said there are no particular times for the attractions except for the bands: Sawyer Fredericks will perform at 11a.m. and intermission, and 3 of a Kind Band will play from noon to 4 p.m.
"I think this year's Spring Fling will have something for everyone," Crouse said.
* 17-year-old singer/songwriter Sawyer Fredericks performs at 11a.m. and intermission
* 3 of a Kind Band plays 12-4p.m.
* DJ Justin will play 10-4 p.m.
* Broadway Choppers Motorcycle Show all day
* Ice cream
* 11 food Vendors
* Amsterdam Free Library's Taste of Amsterdam, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
* Dunk Booth hosted by Wishful Thinking
* Nine-hole miniature golf
* Three bouncy houses
* Face painting
* North Country Wild Care
* Henna tattoos
* fun, fun, fun