April 23, 2014

Daffest set for this weekend


---- — SARANAC LAKE — Daffest is stirring some serious Derby Race dust.

The Saranac Lake Area and Tupper Lake chambers of commerce are going nose to nose this year in a Daffest Derby challenge.

Both have registered cars in the annual springtime soapbox race.

And in Saranac Lake, Chamber Director Katy Van Anden is stoked for a win on the home turf.

“We’re going to take them down,” she declared.

Not so fast, replied Michelle Clement, who is Tupper Lake Chamber events coordinator.

“I recommend that she don a face mask for the Daffest challenge, because she’ll be trailing behind our car, and we might stir up a lot of dust.”

The two chamber operators work together a lot, Clement said.

But as far as car specifics, the Tupper pit crew is keeping mum.

The new Tupper Lake car is sponsored by Leroy’s Auto Sales and Service on Main Street, and it’s going to have special decal details.

“Right now, it’s being held in an undisclosed location so the competition doesn’t have a one-up on us,” Clement said.

The unveiling will come on race day, Saturday, April 26.


Meantime, daffodils are pushing up through soggy and somewhat snowy village gardens.

This year marks the fourth Daffest celebration spanning two weekends of dance parties, races, downtown Saranac Lake music, food and shopping extravaganzas.

Organizer Cherrie Sayles said, so far, village residents have planted 80,000 daffodil bulbs in civic parks and private gardens.

With springtime pressing against the long (and very cold) winter, Sayles declared Daffest ready to bloom.

“You will see our streets lined with these festive, beautiful carpets of blooms — a very welcome sight every spring as we shake off the chill of the winter and look forward to the new beginnings of the fresh new season that explodes with new life in the North Country,” Sayles said in revealing Daffest events online.

“Just as a daffodil hibernates and blooms to full beauty each spring, Saranac Lake will bloom, as it does in the other seasons of the year, to its full majesty of community participation and pride.”


Daffest runs from April 25 to May 4 this year.

A Latin Dance Party marks the start to Daffest at Harrietstown Town Hall at 8 p.m. Friday, April 25.

Daffest Derby starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 26, drawing more than 100 cars to four heats.

Hundreds of spectators will line the Derby Hill at LaPan Highway to catch the old-fashioned derby car excitement.

The 5K Zoom ‘n’ Bloom race through the village is slated to start at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 3, at the Adirondack Carousel.

That same day, a Kentucky Derby Hat contest is scheduled at Captain Cook’s Bar & Grill on Broadway, starting at 4 p.m.


Saranac Lake is working steadily toward the goal of planting 1 million daffodil bulbs.

“It may take us 20 years,” Sayles said. “But that’s OK.”

Email Kim Smith


Friday, April 25

5 to 8 p.m.: Blue Moon Kickoff Daffest and welcome party: Salsa Fare.

5:30 p.m.: Daffest Try Mine Pastry Contest, sponsored by King Arthur Flour.

6 p.m.: Tupper Lake Ecumenical Choir performs.

8 to 11 p.m.: Latin Dance Party, sponsored by the Downtown Advisory Committee, Harrietstown Town Hall.

Saturday April 26

8 a.m.: Daffest Derby Equipment Check.

9 a.m.: Trial runs begin on Daffest Derby Track.

9 to 10:30 a.m.: Registration for Daffest Derby.

11 a.m.: Daffest Derby, LaPan Highway.

9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Festival of the Blooms, Riverside Park, featuring fair food, Blue Line Brewery root beer floats, barbecue pork, Judy's Hots.

10 a.m.: Paul Smith's College with 30 feet of fresh baked goods for sale and baking demonstrations.

10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Live music in the park, featuring the Blue Steel Band; Adirondack Scenic Boat Tours with Capt. Dan Sullivan, leaving hourly, noon to 5 p.m.

3 p.m.: DJ's Rustic Restaurant Pie Eating Contest.

4:30 p.m.: Daffest Derby Awards Ceremony at Riverside Park.

Thursday, May 1

10:30 a.m.: Daffest Walking Tour leaves Riverside Park, led by Historic Saranac Lake Director Amy Catania. $5 per person, free to Historic Saranac Lake members. Boxed lunch available between tours in Riverside Park for $15.

1 to 3 p.m.: Wigmore Garden Tour on the Shores of Oseetah Lake. Must preregister online at Limit: 30 guests. Boxed lunch available between tours in Riverside Park for $15.

Friday, May 2

6 to 10 p.m.: St. Bernard's Gala, Harrietstown Town Hall, with silent and live auctions, music, food.

Saturday, May 3

9 a.m.: Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Zoom in Blooms 5K Race, Adirondack Carousel.

10 a.m.: Daffest Brunch at Nonna Fina following the 5K.

Noon to 2 p.m.: Nonna Fina Wine Tasting. Noon: Left Bank Café Cooking with Flowers Demonstration & Tea & Lunch in Monet's Garden, $15 RSVP at Left Bank Cafe.

4 p.m.: Kentucky Derby Hat Contest, Captain Cook's Bar & Grill.

7 p.m.: Scottish Ceilidh at Saranac Village at Will Rogers. St. Andrew's Society of the Adirondacks presents party featuring music, desserts, refreshments and Scottish revelry. Open to the public. $5. For more information, contact Debbie Kanze at 891-7117 or call Marina LaDuke at 891-2165.

Sunday, May 4

2 p.m.: Adirondack Singers Spring Concert, St. Bernard's Church. Full schedule of events, along with Derby race rules, registration forms and ordering information for bulk daffodil bulb purchasing, is online at