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Plans are taking shape for Bassmasters Elite Tournament weekend

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WADDINGTON – In a show of support, the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce has signed on to help organizers prepare for the Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament in August.

The county chamber has agreed to organize a weekend festival during the tournament, tentatively scheduled for Aug. 9 to 11. The Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament, called St. Lawrence River Showdown, will be held Aug. 8 to 11.

The national fishing tournament is expected to draw thousands of tourists to the area and pump $2 million in revenue into the St. Lawrence Valley economy.

As part of the contractual agreement between village of Waddington and Bassmaster’s, the community is required to host an expo to draw people into the area for the event.

“Organizations like Bassmasters like to see a festival going on when they come into town,” Event Coordinator Deanna Shampine said.

The event will be headquartered in Whittaker Park, where camera crews are expected to film the announcement of winners, concerts and other live events.

“The more people we are able to draw to that area to give support to the tournament, the better,” FishCap Coordinator Donald R. Meissner said.

The festival will be headed by county Chamber Events and Program Coordinator Jo Ann Roberts.

“As the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, an organization that promotes those kind of economic boosts in the north country, we offered our assistance,” Ms. Roberts said. “We’re excited to help in any way we can.”

While the Bassmasters Elite Series Tournament is still eight months away, the county chamber has already started preparing for the event. The chamber will hold its first kick-off meeting next week. Chamber members from other communities are expected to attend.

The festival is tentatively titled “Tastes and Talents of the North Country” and will include crafts, food, artisans, wine, entertainment and music.

There will also be some demonstrations by local artisans and wildlife enthusiasts.

“The Bassmasters group brings with them their own corporate sponsors,” Ms. Roberts said. “Our piece is to showcase certain aspects and features of our area that they wouldn’t know about.”.

The festival, which will be free and open to the public, will paid for by vendor fees.

Vendor packets and information will be available in the coming months, Ms. Roberts said.

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