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Seeking Support as they Train for Triathlon to Benefit LLS
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Their efforts are not for the faint of heart, and yet the cause it benefits could not be more worthy.
A group of co-workers and friends of the National Museum of Dance (NMD) have come together to give back to the community, and they are requesting your support. They have formed a group called “Team Dance Museum.” The team’s mission is to raise funds by competing in endurance events to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) blood cancer research programs.
The Team Dance Museum members are:
- Exhibitions Coordinator and Designer Laura DiRado,
- Programming and Outreach Coordinator Jessica Munson,
- NMD Board Member John Witt,
- Museum Member Tony Mariotti,
- NMD Director Raul Martinez.
The team is accepting pledges and donations, and is currently actively in training to compete in the Lake George Triathlon on September 5. This Olympic distance event will have three components. They will swim for 0.9 miles, then bicycle for 24.8 miles, and then run 6.2 miles!
As courageous as Team Dance Museum’s efforts are, they are mindful that it pales in comparison to the Olympian courage a patient undergoing chemotherapy exhibits. All the members of Team Dance Museum made note of examples where their family or close friends were afflicted with cancer as their motivation for participating.
For instance, DiRado spoke about the daughter of family friend, whose parents ran in four marathons in support of cancer research. For Witt, it was a good friend’s son who was diagnosed early. Martinez spoke about his grandfather who died of cancer. They cited losses, but also stories of bravery and survival they encountered. Indeed, it is a rare family these days where the impact of cancer has not been felt in some form. While LLS has made tremendous progress in the fight against blood cancer, much remains to be done.
So Team Dance Museum is training for more than just crossing a finish line in a race, grueling though it may be. Their efforts and those of others like them contribute to a greater mission – benefiting society at large to cross the finish line in the fight against this insidious disease.
To that end, a fundraiser to support Team Dance Museum’s triathlon participation has been organized and will take place at NMD (99 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs) on Thursday, August 20 at 6:30 p.m. Named “TriDance to Fight Cancer,” the event will feature a Latin dance lesson and demonstration by Tango Fusion Dance Company Directors Diane Lachtrupp Martinez and Johnny Martinez. The lesson is geared toward all levels of experience and no partner is needed. Spring Street Deli and Lily and the Rose will provide food and drink.
The donation to attend the August 20 event is $100. Tickets may be purchased by calling (518) 584-2225 ext. 3001 or via a paypal link on the event’s Facebook page: facebook.com/events/280321938809482.
You may also support the team in training in other ways. Should you be unable to attend on August 20, pledges in any amount are welcome and can be made on Team Dance Museum’s LLS Fundraising page: pages.teamintraining.org/uny/lkgrgtri15/TeamDanceMuseum
By supporting Team Dance Museum’s efforts, we all take a few lively steps closer to the finish line of a cancer free world.
Legendary Racing Cartoonist Honored at Saratoga Events this Summer
By Arthur Gonick
SARATOGA SPRINGS – He has a career spanning over 50-years developing what can only be described as a labor of love: Horse racing’s preeminent cartoonist, chronicling in caricature the leading lights of the sport of kings with verve, style and impish good humor.
Pierre Bellocq, known affectionately to racing fans as PEB, whose iconic cartoons were a staple of the Daily Racing Form, is continuing to embrace life well into his ninth decade. And he shows no signs of slowing down. This summer, he is returning to Saratoga Springs for the first time in a few years (“a place that I always feel happy,” he said) to receive richly deserved accolades at some of racing society’s leading galas and events. PEB was one of the honorees at Equine Advocates Gala this past Thursday, July 30, at which several of his collectable cartoons were among the auction items.
He also has been commissioned to paint a fiberglass horse with the likeness of current triple-crown winner American Pharoah, to be auctioned at the Sunday, August 9 gala (“The Foods of Anne Burrell”) to benefit the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at the Canfield Casino in Congress Park (for information, visit www.trfinc.org). PEB is planning to attend this event as well.
It’s been a long, cheerful road for the man who once voyaged to the US from France in the 1950s. “I was sponsored by the then owner of Laurel Race Course in Baltimore, John D. Shapiro, who was looking for an illustrator for his track program,” PEB said. “Most people don’t know this, but I actually came over on a cargo plane with five horses! For me, it seemed luxurious being able to sleep in all that hay. And it gave me an opportunity to brush up on my English with the grooms.”
His patron, Shapiro, also connected PEB with work at a local advertising agency, and eventually, the Daily Racing Form, where he rapidly grew to be a 365-day institution – frequently his cartoons would be prominent on the front page of racing’s bible. “I mostly made my choice of subject with little direction, featuring the leading event of the day and focusing on the personality of trainer, jockey, horse as I saw them,” he said.
How did the subject feel about being caricatured? “Well, usually they were gratified. I recall one person saying: When I’ve been drawn by PEB I know I’ve made it!” He said. “Although, I’ve learned over time that it is wise to be extra-sensitive as to how I draw the ladies.”
While most of PEB’s cartoons would reflect the good-natured and humorous side of racing, he would also cover the controversial issues (such as doping or mistreatment of horses) when the situation called for it. Which is precisely why he is a worthy honoree at this year’s galas.
Also, some may not be aware that for many years he pulled double-duty: Skewering politicians and the great issues of the day three times a week as a political cartoonist at the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I preferred international issues over local – they were less likely to come looking for me!”
Even over the phone, you can feel the joie de vivre and warmth in his voice – the voice of a man who loves sharing his gift with others.
Regarding Saratoga, PEB first came visited as a guest of jockey Jean Cruguet and his wife. “So many memories… on my first outing, Saratoga reminded me of the atmosphere at Deauville” (a race course in in the Basse-Normandie region of France,) PEB said. “So beautiful, the morning workouts, breakfast at the track, the museums…”
“Saratoga. Going there, it’s always something I always look forward to,” he said.
The Hunt & Fish Club at Siro’s is Ready for a Big Debut Season
By Arthur Gonick
“People love the luxury here. Our job is to build upon a treasured concept.”
So stated Ben O’Sullivan, executive chef of the Hunt & Fish Club; a restaurant that has taken the discerning foodie community in New York City by storm since it opened at the beginning of this year. O’Sullivan is leading a core group that will be establishing something extra-special this race season – at a place that has always been special.
Behold: The Hunt & Fish Club at Siro’s. The best meets the best adjacent to the Saratoga Racecourse, at a place where winners have always met. By the time you read this, it’s the surest of sure bets that they’ll be ready to dazzle and delight diners. “I see our role as establishing a brand that is faithful to the restaurant’s glorious heritage, while putting our own stamp on things,” O’Sullivan said.
And so, while you will still see several familiar items on the menu, such as the colossal 7-10 pound lobsters that are a Siro’s tradition, expect to see some incredible upgrades. For one thing, the restaurant will feature miyazaki beef. Originating from a region south of Kobe in Japan, O’Sullivan noted that this Wagyu beef is rated A5 – the highest grade of prime beef available. All the beef served at Siro’s this summer will be dry-aged for maximum flavor.
Some of the Hunt & Fish Club’s most popular dishes, including its signature Burnt Lemon Chicken, will be on the Siro’s menu. O’Sullivan mentioned that the menu will not be the same every time you visit, however. “I expect that we’ll have changes in response to what are the best available products over the course of the next seven weeks – I’m a big believer in local sourcing and I’m looking forward to seeing what fish, mushrooms and other items are available to put on the menu. We are also discussing the idea of a special Tuesday ‘locals’ menu, where we can get a chance to really get creative.” He said.
O’Sullivan, a Napa Valley area native, sports an impressive background prior to taking the reins at The Hunt & Fish Club. He apprenticed for legendary Chef Todd Humphries on the West Coast (“…he would have us all forage for mushrooms with him,” O’Sullivan noted with a smile), with stops at leading restaurants in Toronto and Nantucket on his way to New York City, where, among other places, he worked at the prestigious ABC Kitchen under multiple-Michelin star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. His training was evident in the quiet, confident and firm manner that he led his staff in preparing the dishes for this piece that make it evident that those visiting Siro’s this summer are in for a singular treat.
It may come as a surprise to some that the kitchen staff at Siro’s manages to perform all this excellence with a rather small staff of six. Three were brought up by O’Sullivan from The Hunt & Fish Club, including his Sous Chef Jim and two line cooks.
Another surprise is that this will be O’Sullivan’s first summer in Saratoga Springs. His impressions so far? “I love the ambiance. It reminds me of St. Helena in California, which has a seasonal wine culture.”
Some of the things outside the restaurant he looks forward to include “…a long bike ride. I’m looking forward to seeing the lakes in this region. I can’t wait to visit the Farmers’ market here, as well as some of the other restaurants that I’ve heard so much about.”
“But mostly, I’m looking forward to just absorbing the racetrack atmosphere here. It’s going to be exciting to experience,” He said.
And it’s another sure bet that O’Sullivan and his team will make your Hunt & Fish Club at Siro’s dining experience as world-class as the race meet next door.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Former construction worker Don Petersimes, 54, relaxed his lanky form into the Shelters of Saratoga couch with a contradictory air of confidence and nervousness. This was a man who had proven he could survive anything life threw at him, but could not be sure that life had stopped throwing.
Petersimes told his story without rancour or self-pity, accepting the results of the economic downtown with a shrug, and acknowledging his own mistakes in a straightforward manner. His only sign of frustration was with the inconsistency of support systems for people trying to rebuild after losing their homes and livelihoods.
“They make it so hard that you give up,” Petersimes said. “If you’re getting $186 a month in food stamps, then go get a part-time job for 20 hours a week, they cut you back to $46. You get penalized for doing better instead of helping you to keep going up.”
A construction worker who was battling alcoholism, he began working part-time so he could take care of his ailing mother.
“She had cancer, and I wanted her to see a sober son,” Petersimes said. And he did it. When she died, he had nowhere to go. The owner of the small company he worked for decided to get out of the construction business, so with no home and no job, he fell off the wagon.
“I stayed out on the streets for seven years,” he said. During that time, he witnessed both the best and worst of humanity play out in real time as government, businesses, service providers and citizenry tried to figure out what to do with him and others experiencing homelessness.
“We'd get blankets from the shelters and have to hide them during the day,” Petersimes said. He described how homeless people have to hide their belongings such as identification, marriage and birth certificates, toothbrushes and old photographs, while they are out looking for work or housing or help. He has seen those things get stolen or found and thrown away.
“I’ve seen police officers laughing while taking a knife and cutting up tents behind the bank near Price Chopper in the woods,” Petersimes said. “They told us to leave, and we did, but they didn’t give the folks who had tents the chance to take them down.” He cleared his throat and sat back, silent for a moment in the memory of seeing one person laugh while another's few worldly goods were being taken before their eyes.
Michael A. Finocchi is the executive director of Shelters of Saratoga, Inc. (SOS). When he met Petersimes, it had been three years since the homeless man had been sober.
“He had been given so much misinformation that he didn't have any incentive left to get sober,” said Finocchi. So they talked, not about alcoholism or where to go for help, but about music.
“I am not my disease,” said Petersimes. “Mike was the first person who seemed to realize that.”
Petersimes plays the guitar, and has earned money as a street performer. Finocchi was able to draw him out and get him talking about his love for music, and before long Petersimes was confiding in him.
“Don wants to be sober,” said Finocchi. “He doesn't want to be homeless. He just needed someone to believe in him and help him navigate the system.”
Finocchi has a clear view of the successes and failings of governmental and charitable institutions in the effort to help the homeless. SOS is the only shelter serving three counties, so he knows it is imperative that the shelter help its guests utilize all available resources so they can get back into jobs and housing as soon as possible, even if the system sometimes feels like one step forward and two steps back.
“You know you can only get cold food with food stamps,” Petersimes said. No home means no stove, so he could not buy meat or pasta or rice or most of the foods allowed with food stamps. “There's hot food at the soup kitchen, but then you have to deal with all the others. Some are crazy.”
Petersimes is representative of any intelligent adult whose paycheck-to-paycheck life could turn into homelessness with a single misstep or sudden life change, like illness or job loss.
Finocchi said, “You'd be surprised how many people have come through here who have said they had a house, a job for fifteen years, and lost everything when they were laid off. Family trouble came right after losing the house, and it spirals.”
We live in a society that punishes the inability to pay bills with more bills, so if just one more thing goes wrong financially, even the most hard-working intelligent person can end up in a hole he cannot climb out of alone – and that hole is sometimes homelessness.
“We assisted more than 400 people here last year,” said Finocchi. The facility is a home, with a comfortable living room and fireplace, books, a large kitchen where Petersimes cooks for his new extended family, bedrooms reminiscent of college dorms, dedicated case workers and a household filled with guests seeking to build a new life.
“A homeless person will be the person who wants help and doesn’t know how to navigate the system. A vagrant doesn’t want to make a change,” said Finocchi. He said he walks alone or sometimes with members of the police department downtown, talking to the homeless and letting them know what help is available to them.
“There’s nothing for them to do during the day,” he said. Some will panhandle downtown and try to find places to sleep or sit, partly because there is no where for them to go. Once in awhile someone will get into trouble with the law, but it is rare that it is ever anything serious.
According to Lieutenant Robert H. Jillson , Investigations' Division Commander and Public Information Officer of the Saratoga Springs Police Department, arrests of homeless individuals typically revolve around quality of life offences, not assaults or robberies.
“We’ll see open container violations, disorderly contact such as public urination, or trespassing,” said Jillson. “We’ll get calls for lingering, but that’s not illegal. When we get those calls, we’ll go assess the situation, but usually they are not doing anything wrong.”
Finocchi said a drop-in center would make a big difference. “It could provide case management, clothes, toothbrushes, and basic daily needs,” he said. He has seen very successful ones and, as a member of the Mayor's Housing Task Force, hopes to work with the City to have one created downtown.
“With the combined forces of the Code Blue Steering Committee and the Mayor’s Housing Task Force, we’re working on a continuum of care from emergency shelter to permanent housing,” said Mayor Joanne Yepsen. “I really appreciate the partnership I have with the local service agencies. We’ve had some great successes already, and have accomplished an end to Veterans’ homelessness. A drop-in center is one of the ideas being considered for future, but staffing is a real issue.”
The Mayor’s Housing Task Force meets once a month and is made up of ten government, private, and nonprofit representatives assessing current and considering future housing needs in Saratoga. The Task Force is considering the needs of artists, young professionals, and other populations as well as homeless individuals.
The Saratoga Springs community as a whole has been working very hard to help eradicate homelessness, and the local service providers express their gratitude in every conversation. That said, there is an overwhelming amount of work yet to be done, and government, citizens, and providers are all being asked to step up to the challenge.
“We get about 300 people who don’t even live here who need socks, shoes a meal or something, and we don’t turn them away. If we don’t have it, we tell them to come back the next day and we go get it,” said Finocchi.
The organization has developed a capital improvement plan to address these pressing needs. More information about the project and how to support it is located at www.sheltersofsaratoga.org/help-us/expansion/.
Franklin Center just completed a capital campaign and is holding a celebration of its new food pantry on July 14 from 6 to 7 p.m. For more information about Franklin Community Center visit the website www.franklincommunitycenter.org.
The efforts of these organizations and others in the area are a bright spot in the complicated road out of homelessness, and Petersimes is more than grateful.
“My sobriety is my first success,” Petersimes said. He is 62 days sober. “Then, in the wonderful friends I've made through my sobriety. I have hope again that I can have a life, that I can support myself on my own. I may need a little help getting there, but I have that here. I have help getting to doctor's appointments and meetings and job searches. The most support I've ever had is right here, at Shelters of Saratoga.”
He paused thoughtfully for a moment, then said, “There's this quote that I read once, but it's always stuck with me. That faith is in the presence of things unseen, but hope is faith in the presence of things seen. What they have done here is hope because I can see it. They showed it to me here – between Code Blue and the counselors and Mike [Finocchi]– they showed me that there is hope.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne D. Yepsen announced re-election bid yesterday, May 28, at the Henry Street Taproom at 86 Henry Street. Congressman Paul Tonko, D-NY-20, introduced Yepsen before a crowd of supporters.
"Mayor Yepsen is a not just a public official,” said Tonko. “She's a mother of three, a small businesswoman, and a caring and active part of our community who delivers real results for her fellow citizens. Mayor Yepsen's accomplishments over the last two years are just the beginning of what will continue to be an inclusive and highly productive era of government for the people of Saratoga Springs."
The Democrat was elected mayor in November 2013 in a close race, garnering 52 percent of the vote against former Deputy Mayor, Republican Shauna M. Sutton. A principal at Coltivare for nearly 14 years, Yepsen was formerly Saratoga Springs County Supervisor for four terms. She founded the Saratoga chapter of Grants to You, and was with Skidmore College for 16 years.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Automobile Museum’s (SAM) 12th Annual Spring Auto Show will have a motorized lineup that provides a worthy kickoff to the spring regional car show season. The action begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, where the lawn surrounding the reflecting pool adjacent to SAM on the grounds of Spa State Park will be packed with hundreds of dream cars. It’s always an eye-popping spectacle.
If you wish to participate and show off your pride and joy, there is still time. Pre-registration is $15; day of show is $20 and museum admission is included with registration. Visit saratogaautomuseum.org to register. All types of vehicles are welcome to participate, but this year the museum is featuring British marques (auto insider lingo for brands; in this case examples are Jaguar, MG and Rolls Royce), as well as racecars (two noteworthy clubs in attendance will be the Atlantic Coast Old Timers and the Sports Car Club of America’s Mohawk-Hudson region), pre-WWII vehicles of all types and motorcycles. Or, you can just go and appreciate.
There will be about a dozen trophy classifications at stake, and yet the atmosphere is usually more congenial than competitive, as vintage car owners tend to be as admiring of the work done on their neighbor’s prized possession as their own. Adding to that ambiance is the fact that SAM has gone to great lengths to make this anything but an insider’s event; it’s a family fun day with contests, games and activities in which everyone can participate. Kids even have their own judging category! There will be a Stewart’s ice cream dipping station and the museum will trot out its vintage popcorn machine for all to enjoy.
Of particular note that should have general appeal is a program that Donnie Gould, an automotive appraisal expert will present called “What’s Your Car Worth?” based on the Discovery Network TV show. You can learn the considerations that go into a pricing evaluation, whether it will pay to go through the cost of restoring your vintage vehicle, what you might expect to receive at an auction and other related topics.
And, of course, there is the museum itself. Worth a visit on it’s own, there will be plenty on display to round out your afternoon. In addition to their ongoing exhibits such as “Luxury Automobiles: Through the Ages,” which showcases extravagant vehicles from a 1903 Hansom Cab to a 2014 Ferrari; “East of Detroit,” spotlighting the New York State auto manufacturing industry, SAM has launched a major educational initiative with the installation of four simulators so that everyone in the family, whether they are old enough to drive or not, can learn about the dangers of distracted driving (see Saratoga TODAY Newspaper’s May 8 issue for more details about this initiative).
So the former bottling plant for mineral spring waters, which was repurposed and opened to the public in June of 2002, should be at its showroom shiniest on Saturday. A perfect time to visit (or re-visit) and get revved up!
For more information, visit saratogaautomuseum.org
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan reports that 2014 City general fund (operating budget) revenues and expenses have come in largely balanced. Unaudited year-end figures reveal small annual operating surplus in the amount of $91,082. “This is budgeting at its best. Departments did exactly what I recommended - ask for the funds needed and use the funds received. Budgeting is planning and this is clear evidence of a good and well-implemented plan,” states Madigan.
Actual 2014 revenue collected totaled $41,283,865. Actual 2014 expenditures totaled $41,192,783. “The City Departments did an excellent job managing their budgets and this will service the City and taxpayers well in the future,” the Commissioner stated.
For 2014, the City is required to have a unassigned, unappropriated fund balance between $4,175,952 and $6,263,928. Unaudited figures indicate that the City’s unassigned, unappropriated fund balance will be in excess of the maximum amount by about $1.54 million. City policy requires that any funds in excess of the maximum allowable amount be utilized, and the Commissioner of Finance is required to make recommendations to the City Council regarding the use of such funds, following an independent audit.
Madigan states that, as in years past, these funds will be returned to the taxpayers. “I have kept the property tax rate stable for three years with my recommendations to create, strengthen, and tap reserves; contribute to critical capital needs, such as infrastructure and equipment; plan for future retirement needs; and set aside funds to settle long expired labor contracts.”
The City has fortified its reserves over the last several years, a fact that has contributed to its high bond rating of AA+ and helped it obtain low interest rates on bonds for capital projects. These reserves and other designations will be key to future planning in the face of possible VLT revenue decline. “VLT revenue is currently 4.4% of the City’s operating budget. Losing any amount of this, especially as we retain the expenses of the host City, is a challenge that my administration has been preparing for. Using fund balance excess wisely has been part of those preparations.”
Both the Water and Sewer Funds also ended FY 2014 with annual operating surpluses. After carrying operating deficits for several years, these funds have been improving since 2009, and have made substantial inroads on the repayment of a debt to the general fund.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Automobile Museum (SAM) has invested in and installed a powerful tool for combating a major problem on our roads – distracted driving. This problem is particularly rampant among young motorists, but by no means exclusively. Four state-of-the-art distracted driving simulators, funded by donations and the Museum’s board of trustees, are now in operation at the Museum and available for the public to use with a paid admission.
In doing this, the museum has also expanded its mission from educating about automotive history, to a forceful and consistent advocate for safety behind the wheel. “We will be reaching out to schools, calling driver education classes and private driving instructors,” said SAM Educational Director Seth Warden.
At a conference at SAM on Tuesday, May 5, Anthony Ianniello, Chair of SAM’s Board of Trustees, called distracted driving “…nothing less than an epidemic,” leading to more accidents than impaired driving. “We intend to bring in young people here by the bus load to show them what can happen when you don’t pay full attention.” He introduced a panel that included Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo, Congressman Paul Tonko and Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen, each of whom spoke of the dangers of driving while distracted.
Congressman Tonko noted the fact that there were 3,100 deaths on our nation’s roads in 2013 that were attributed to distracted driving, and that injuries continue to rise: 424,000 people injured in the same year. The overwhelming majority of these were young drivers. Mayor Yepsen noted the need to reverse these trends, citing her concerns for her three young driving children, ages 19 to 27, and lauded the museum for “taking its educational message to another level.”
The four panelists then each got behind the wheel of the simulators, which resembled an arcade ride with a steering wheel, brake and accelerator pedals, and three video screens that represented front and side windows, as well as rear and side mirrors. The video presented each driver with a myriad of distractions, both in and outside their “vehicle.” Included in the list were cell phones, of course, but also animals, pedestrians, other vehicles, passengers talking to you, unfamiliar roads and much more. Violations are tracked and displayed on the screens in real time.
But the simulation program, called ‘One Simple Decision,’ did more than track traffic mishaps and accidents and keep score. The consequences are also detailed on the video depending on what you experienced. A crash might get you a visit from an EMT unit; a minor fender-bender’s economic outcomes are detailed – from the cost of repairs to insurance increases and points on your license. A vehicular homicide will have law enforcement drag you to court, listen to a victim’s family read an impact statement, and receive a sentence.
After each simulation, a user will complete a survey about their experiences and the data will be compiled to help SAM develop other programs to serve the community.
After his turn on the simulator, Sheriff Zurlo called it “a great educational tool.” He noted that the simulator was extremely easy to control and that young drivers would be able to operate it with ease. “There was always something happening, and it shows the importance of really paying attention to what you are doing.” He said.
Congressman Tonko had similar reactions. “It really showed how quickly things can happen, and how alert you constantly need to be.” He said.
For more information about the Saratoga Auto Museum’s activities and educational programs, visit saratogaautomuseum.org
Details Announced for Second Annual Glamor Western Gala
SARATOGA SPRINGS – When you pull off a great, fun event, the challenge for the second time around is to keep it fresh and exciting, while still remaining faithful to the concepts that made it successful in the first place. This has been accomplished, and then some, as the details for the Second Annual Dogs, Divas & Dudes Gala were discussed with Gala Chairwoman Michele Riggi, who knows a few things about throwing a great party.
“The thing that makes this event distinctive,” Ms. Riggi said, “is that we have a season of galas, so many events to choose from. But this is the one where you can be casual: Just pull on your jeans, throw on your boots, grab a cowboy (or cowgirl) hat and you are good to go! Not to mention, you can bring your dog to our party—we even have complimentary dog sitting for when you need to get up and participate in all the things we have planned.” She said.
The short course is that the Second Annual Dogs, Divas & Dudes Gala will occur on Thursday, June 11, at 6 p.m. Saratoga National Golf Club. Many of the elements that made this event so distinctive are back in place, but with several enhancements to assure that you’ll be thoroughly entertained. Tickets and sponsorships are available now – and the proceeds will once again go to Cornell University Veterinary Specialty’s Department of Oncology.
A $500 admission ticket gets you cocktails, dinner and a preferred seat for the featured entertainment that evening, plus a meet and greet with the featured artist. Other sponsorship packages, ranging from $1,000-$10,000, are available for those wanting to buy admissions for you and your posse (or company), with upgraded seating and other enhanced perks.
One incredibly noteworthy enhancement is this year’s celebrity headlining guest performer – Country music star, Warner Music Nashville singer/songwriter Chris Janson, who will be coming to Saratoga Springs in between gigs in Missouri and Colorado. Janson is sporting a major hit single “Buy Me A Boat” that reached #1 on the iTunes country charts. It was announced earlier this month that cable network CMT will actually be financing and producing the music video for this original song. This is significant because it will be the first time the network has undertaken this type of project.
Another feature of this year’s gala is that you can buy a “show only” ticket for $100, which includes a balcony seat, hors d’oeuvres and a meet and greet.
Speaking of CMT, appearing and returning as special Honorary Chairpersons for the gala are Doug and Beth Chapman – the stars of the hit TV series Dog & Beth: On The Hunt. Dr. Margaret McEntee from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine also returns as an honored guest.
There also will be a small but select live auction, with unique items available, including a dog home for your best friend custom-built by Bella Builders and a one-of-kind wall clock commissioned by Ms. Riggi herself.
But perhaps it’s the overall ambiance of the event that makes Dogs, Divas & Dudes so easy to recommend. The entire atmosphere of a transformed Saratoga National into a big rhinestone-studded county hoedown – from trick roping demonstrations to mechanical bull riding to barbeque to music and just plain fun (all with your dog, no less!) and benefitting a great cause…. Well, pardner, it all adds up to make the date of June 11 worth circling on your calendar, and reserving your place ASAP so you don’t get left out when something really unique comes to town again.
Farmers’ Market Moves To High Rock Park Saturday
SARATOGA SPRINGS – It’s a sure sign that warmer weather is upon us when the Saratoga Farmers Market opens its outdoor summer market at the pavilions in High Rock Park. This Saturday, May 2, marks the opening day of the outdoor season, and will kick off with a short opening ceremony and ribbon cutting by Saratoga Springs Mayor, Joanne Yepsen and Saratoga Farmers’ Market Board President Phyllis Underwood at 8:45a.m. This will be followed by a day of fun family activities including live music, face painting and balloon twisting, and, of course, a wide variety of fresh, local products.
The pavilions at High Rock Park provide a truly unique outdoor shopping experience, with an expansive selection that only a summer farmers’ market can offer. All of the products sold at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market (with the exception of coffee) are locally grown, raised and produced. Seventy percent of these offerings are agricultural. Because of this, many locals have been anticipating the opening of the outdoor summer market for weeks.
The popularity of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market has grown tremendously throughout its 38 years of operation in the Spa City. This year, the outdoor summer market will feature roughly 60 farms and vendors with a wide array of produce, meats, eggs, artisanal cheeses, honey, beer, wine, spirits, ready-to-eat gourmet specialties, plants and crafts all produced in greater Saratoga County and the surrounding region.
Several new vendors are joining the Saratoga Farmers Market this season, bringing an even more diverse selection to the summer market. These new vendors include: Argyle Brewing Company, Lake George Distilling Company, Old World Farm, Owl Wood Farm, Pleasant Knob Farm, Springbrook Hollow Farm Distillery, Northern Star Vineyards, Blind Buck Farm and Naga Bakehouse.
Market Administrator Kara Scieszka always welcomes the outdoor market with enthusiasm. “We’re really excited for the outdoor season to begin!” she said. “We love returning to the pavilions at High Rock Park and to be outside in the fresh air! We are thrilled about the new vendors joining us this season and the quality and diversity their products will bring to our Market. We are also pleased to be collaborating with several local businesses and non-profits to offer workshops, and having a variety of children’s activities throughout the outdoor season.”
The ambiance at High Rock Pavilions is perfect for a Farmers’ Market. There is so much more room for everything: vendors, shoppers, music, children’s activities and of course socializing. More room means that it’s bigger, both with more products and more diversity of product. In addition to a great selection and shopping experience, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market at High Rock Park also offers a Market Café, which is a designated tent filled with a variety of prepared foods, picnic tables and performances by acoustic musicians—a perfect spot for families to sit, eat, relax and enjoy the nicer weather.
OTHER MARKET HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
Music – At every market, local musicians add ambiance and melodic flair, ranging from folk and bluegrass to harpists and drumming ensembles. This year the Market is offering two music venues: A Main Tent and an Acoustic Tent on the North Lawn.
Non-Profits and Businesses – Local non-profit organizations and businesses will periodically be at the market to display information and/or provide fun children’s activities throughout the season.
If you are interested in performing or having your organization at the market, contact the market coordinator. Visit saratogafarmersmarket.org/contact.
“Veggie Valet” – Friends of the Market, a dedicated group of market volunteers, provides a free “wagon valet” service every Saturday from 9 a.m. -1 p.m. to help market shoppers bring their bags and packages to their parked vehicles.
The Market Accepts Food Stamps and other Assistance Programs –
WIC Farmers’ Market vouchers are available through Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council at (518) 288-3232. For eligible senior citizens seeking fruit and vegetable Vouchers, contact the Saratoga County Office for the Aging at (518) 884-4100.
HOURS OF OPERATION:
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market and its affiliated outdoor markets in Malta and Clifton Park will have the following hours of operation until the end of October:
Saratoga Farmers’ Market:
Twice a week beginning May 2 – Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 1p.m. and Wednesdays from 3 - 6 p.m. at High Rock Park
Malta Farmers’ Market:
Tuesdays from 3 - 6 p.m. beginning June 2, in the Allerdice ACE Hardware parking lot at 2570 Route 9, just south of the Malta Community Center.
Clifton Park Farmers’ Market:
Thursdays from 2 - 5 p.m. beginning July 2, in the parking lot of St. George’s Church, 912 Route 146, near the intersection of Moe Road.
For more information, visit saratogafarmersmarket.org. The market also has pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.