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Thursday, October 23, 2014
Canajoharie, NY ,

Casey Croucher
Four-year-old Madison Sanders, left, and her mother, Courtney Sanders, right, look for the St Johnsville Spring Fest parade to start.

Casey Croucher
Four-year-old Madison Sanders, center, takes a dandelion from her grandmother Betsy Brown, left, as her mother, Courtney Sanders, right, watches at the St. Johnsville Spring Fest parade.

Casey Croucher
Front, left, Carmen Licari and right, Tony Susi. Back, from left, Michael O’Dockerty, Tim Rice, Charlie Weaver and Alan Littrell, all members of St. Johnsville’s American Legion Post #168 enjoy last Saturday’s Spring Fest parade. 

Casey Croucher
New York 46th District Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk drives a tractor Saturday at St Johnsville’s Spring Fest parade.

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Springfest features new events and floats

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - Updated: 9:58 AM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

ST. JOHNSVILLE -- Based on accounts from event organizers and attendees, this year's Springfest was a great success, blessed with sun each afternoon and evening, the rain only coming out at night after each day's festivities wrapped up.

"The comments I'm hearing from all the people were good," said St. Johnsville Chamber of Commerce President Juanita Handy, stating that she saw people up bright and early the first day of Springfest, Thursday morning, checking out the village-wide garage sales, which continued throughout the weekend.

Thursday afternoon, the chamber held a successful baked goods sale and the evening's Springfest Pageant had 15 entrants competing against one another for several titles.

Friday's chamber chicken barbecue, a joint effort between the chamber, H.C. Smith Benefit Club and American Legion, brought in a significant amount of money for the chamber, as 485 of the 500 chicken halves prepared were sold. About a dozen chamber members worked the event, not counting the planning committee.

Handy said that different committees were assigned to the planning of each Springfest event, commenting, "that proved to be very helpful."

One of Springfest's most successful and well-attended events was Saturday's parade, which drew a big crowd to Main Street, where the parade marched from the St. Johnsville Rehabilitation and Nursing Center to the other end of town.

"It's growing every year," said Handy of the parade, noting that it featured many new participants and floats, including the "Cumby's Cup" and a "Jail and Bail" float, which featured this year's highest Jail and Bail earner, Cathy Rice, who brought in $774 of the $1,100 total. Rice was seen in a jail-style jumpsuit behind bars. 

The parade also featured two marching bands, from the OESJ high school, directed by Marge Curtis, and middle school, directed by Diane Mott.

This year's Grand Marshall was MRML Director Dawn Lamphere, decked out in royal garb, including a crown, cape and scepter provided by the planning committee.

Handy said that the committee had an easy time choosing this year's grand marshall, as they feel Lamphere's long been an upstanding, beloved member of the community. Handy stated of the selection committee, "they tried to think of somebody they'd like to have representing Springfest, and Dawn was perfect."

Lamphere stated of her reaction to being named grand marshall, "to be honest, I was shocked."

She continued, " When the committee called and told me, my response was pretty much to laugh in disbelief. However, all kidding aside, I was profoundly honored to have been selected. The parade itself was tremendous fun. I think it was one of the best Springfest parades on record. The weather cooperated, a great crowd came out and the committee did an excellent job getting organizations, groups and businesses to participate. As we were waiting for it to begin, a woman brought her daughter up to the side of the car; she wanted to meet the 'queen'." 

"I have always been treated kindly by St. Johnsville, and for that I will be forever thankful."

The parade also annually honors a notable local, last year honoring John Geesler, marathon runner and Towpath Run organizer. This year's honored guest was Ted Schoff, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, "to recognize all his achievements in baseball throughout the years," said Handy.

Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk also participated in the parade, riding on a tractor loaned by Springer's. Riding a tractor in the parade had been a goal of Tkaczyk's since last year. When Handy ran into her at Lobby Day in Albany, she presented her with an invitation to participate in the parade, to which Handy said Tkaczyk jokingly responded, "I'll be there if I can drive a tractor." Though Tkaczyk said she'd really attend regardless, the planning committee worked to make her dream come true.

Prizes were given out for the best floats, with House of Bread's float, which featured the live band Elmwood Drive, taking first place. The second place prize was awarded to Sporty Designs for their "gigantic t-shirt", and third place went to Glove City Theater.

A new event featured Saturday evening was a DJ Dance Party, at which Handy said she was the only adult in attendance. She noted that at first, the event was aimed at bringing in families, though attending "let me know that my target audience for that is teenagers."

Handy said that on Thursday, the chamber will hold a meeting where they'll announce the final tally of how much money was raised during Springfest. The money, said Handy, will go to one of two projects currently being discussed by the chamber. The final project will be decided upon June 9.

Handy explained that her experience planning Springfest was challenging, but positive.

"I learned a lot and I did have the energy to see it through."

She said of the dedicated volunteers that made Springfest the successful, celebratory event it was, "You find out who the real workers are, because when push comes to shove, they're right there. They put in the extra time and energy and that's very rewarding to see."

"It was a learning experience," though, she said, concluding, "I'll gladly do it again."

Casey Croucher - E.P. Johnson, a clown on stilts, walked in St. Johnsville’s Spring Fest parade Saturday throwing candy to children.

Casey Croucher - The St. Johnsville Fire Department had a long procession of fire trucks in the Spring Fest parade Saturday.

Casey Croucher - E.P. Johnson, right, hands candy to five-year-old Madison Emery, center, while her mother Stephanie Emery, left, watches. Johnson volunteered to dress as a clown and walk on stilts down St. Johnsville’s Main Street for the Spring Fest parade.

Casey Croucher - On the back of a convertible Camaro, Miss Mohawk Valley Lauren Crandall, left, and Junior Miss Mohawk Valley Christina McLaughlin, right, wave to parade-goers Saturday during St. Johnsville’s Spring Fest parade.

     

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