Daffest to kick off this weekend

SARANAC LAKE – It’s a two-weekend celebration of spring, food and music, and it starts this weekend.

Daffest organizer Cherrie Sayles said this year’s event is slated to be the biggest since its inception in 2010. Last year’s event raised enough money to plant 81,000 daffodil bulbs, which were planted throughout the community last fall.

“Everything is up this year,” Sayles said. “The whole community is involved.”

Daffest will kick off at 5 p.m. Friday with the welcome to Daffest Salsa Fare party at the Blue Moon Cafe.

The Try Mine Pastry Contest, sponsored by King Arthur Flour, will begin at 5:30 p.m. inside the Harrietstown town hall. The public is welcome to sample free baked goods ranging from lemon bars to wedding cakes, all made by the contestants: the Blue Moon Cafe, Nona Fina, Little Italy, Early Dawn Confections and Lake Flour Cakery.

At 6 p.m. Friday, the Tupper Lake Ecumenical Choir will perform at the town hall and from 8 to 11 p.m. there will be a Latin dance party there, which is sponsored by the Downtown Advisory Committee and will be hosted by North Country Public Radio’s Todd Moe.

Saturday’s events will begin early with Daffest Derby safety checks beginning at 8 a.m. followed by trial runs down the La Pan highway beginning at 9 a.m. The soapbox derby starts at 11 a.m. and already has more competitors signed up than last year’s race.

Sayles said there will be at least five community cars available for children who don’t have their own car, but would like to participate.

Also on Saturday is the all-day Festival of Blooms, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in Riverside Park. That event will include fair food, 30 feet of baked goods from Paul Smith’s College culinary students, live music from the Blue Steel Band, Adirondack Scenic Boat Tours with Captain Dan Sullivan and a pie eating contest.

Sayles said last year’s pie eating contest brought more than 300 people to the park, and this year it will consist of two age groups: children ages 5 to 13 and adults ages 14 and over.

Next weekend’s events will begin Thursday and will include the Zoom and Bloom Daffest 5K at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nona Fina brunch and wine tasting following the race at noon, the Kentucky Derby Hat Contest Captain Cook’s Bar and Grill at 4 p.m. and Scottish Night at the Saranac Village at Will Rogers at 7 p.m.

Sayles said the ever-expanding Daffest is beginning to draw interst from other nearby communities and will continue to grow in the years to come.

“Daffest is getting legs,” Sayles said. “I’m getting calls from Plattsburgh, Massena, Malone, Balston Spa, all over the place. They want to get involved and they want to know what’s going. It’s been crazy. I’m on the phone all day long.”

For more information, or to register for an event, visit Daffest.com.