PLATTSBURGH — Garrett Lemza summarized the significance of the Battle of Plattsburgh with the winning drawing in this year’s Commemoration Weekend poster contest.
Lemza, who participated in the contest this past spring as a fourth-grader at Seton Academy, captured both the land battle and the naval encounter in his rendition of the Sept. 11, 1814, conflict, in which a small American force was able to defeat the much larger British invasion.
“When I was working on it, I thought I should do both the land and the naval battles,” Lemza said Tuesday afternoon after a receiving a $100 check from Kit Booth of the Battle of Plattsburgh Weekend Commemoration Committee for his first-place effort.
“I started with a blank piece of paper, sat down and thought about what I should do.”
With help from posters and commemorative buttons of past years that his class used for inspiration, Lemza sketched the mouth of the Saranac River, along with several land skirmishes around buildings that he drew on the shoreline. In the background, several ships are also shown engaged in the battle, which many historians believe sealed the American victory in the War of 1812.
“I couldn’t finish it at school, so I brought it home to work on,” he said.
He was able to avert disaster, he added, when his dog sat on the poster before it was completed.
Lemza’s artwork is on this year’s commemorative button, which costs $10 and allows access to more than 100 events between Aug. 31 and Sept. 9.
“This is the most important event the city is involved in every year,” said Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak. “It has been a premier event for the North Country for 15 years.”
Longtime organizers Gary VanCour and Booth highlighted this year’s new events during the committee’s annual press conference Tuesday at City Hall, including a kickoff British Invasion Dinner at Plattsburgh American Legion Post 20 on Friday, Aug. 31.