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Festivals for the rest of us A full weekend of fun is on tap

Thursday, July 10, 2014 - Updated: 10:00 AM

From Fonda to Forts Hunter & Plain, F-MCC to Amsterdam, there's something for everyone


JOHNSTOWN -- Come rain or come shine, Fulton-Montgomery Community College will host its inaugural Buck Moon Arts Festival this weekend.

The festival is one of a handful of events coming in the next few days that are sure to entertain the young and old alike.

In Fonda Friday and Saturday, the village is hosting an "After the 4th" family celebration at the recreational park. Events will kick off Friday with a parade at 6 p.m. and end with fireworks. The fun stretches into Saturday.

In Amsterdam Saturday, the sixth annual Riverlink Jamboree takes the stage at 4 p.m.

Also in Amsterdam, St. Stanislaus Church welcomes the return of its popular two-day festival, featuring food, music and more food.

Canal Days return to the Schoharie Crossing Saturday and Sunday, and will feature yet again the annual antique gas engine and tractor show.

Music also returns to Fort Plain, with the concerts in Haslett Park and a special event at Unity Hall.

And the community college is playing host to its first ever arts festival. We start there.

From dance, photography and theatrical performances to multi-media exhibits, live music and food artisans, the array of activities planned is as eclectic as the audience college president Dustin Swangers hopes to draw.

"Our thought was this: that there are a surprising number of small artist groups in our two counties and in our region and they each put on different art shows and festivals in the summer," Swanger said. "What if they all came together and we could put on a larger show?"

The event spans both Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.

It is free to the public, and will showcase family-friendly visual arts and entertainment from across the capital region, Vermont and Massachusetts. That includes more than 50 art vendors, interactive workshops and seminars, demonstrations and multi-venue band and dance performances.

"We came up with things that would appeal to all age groups and genres," Swanger said.

According to a a press release, food artisans and gardening items will be available for sale. Wineries and craft beer merchants will offer tastings of their regionally produced specialties.

Swanger said at least six different food vendors will be present for the sampling.

On Saturday, professional nature photographer Carl Heilman II will present a multi-media show entitled "I Am the Adirondacks," followed by a book signing.

Other featured artists include Alex Torres and his Latin Orchestra, Hey Jude ... The Tribute, Flame, Ms. Tina's Tribal Belly Dance Co., the Iona Troupe Irish Step Dancers and a children's musical program.

There will also be two juried art shows, where contestants can win cash prizes.

The college plans to hold the festival outside, but if it rains, it will be held indoors.

"I think it is going to be an awesome event," Swanger said. "I think we could see as many as 5,000 people on campus this weekend."

Swanger said the idea for the Buck Moon Art Festival originated from a grant the federal government was offering. He said the college was not awarded the grant, but was motivated to put on an art gala regardless.

"We thought, 'Well, if it is a good idea, we are going to try and do it any way,'" Swanger said.

He said the college gained the support of Montgomery County, the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Saratoga County Arts Council this year and would like to make it an annual affair.

He said a lot of communities revitalized themselves by investing in the arts.

"Arts are not just visually appealing, they are an economic function as well," Swanger said.

The name Buck Moon stems from Native Americans, Swanger added.

Native Americans have a name for each full moon of the month. The July moon is called the buck moon because that is when they believe bucks grow their antlers, Swanger said.

"We didn't want to call it the Fulton-Montgomery arts festival because we wanted people from outside the area to feel welcome, so we wanted to go with something more neutral, also because it reflected a respect to our heritage," Swanger said.


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