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Chamber’s Really Big Show opens

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POTSDAM — Local talent and the wares of around 90 vendors — including food, wine, crafts and business items and services — will be showcased at the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce’s Really Big Show today and Saturday at Clarkson University’s Cheel Arena in Potsdam.

The annual home, garden and business show will take place from noon to 8 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission each day is $2.

“A lot of vendors have been here from day one, so it’s obviously a success for them,” said Jo Ann Roberts, event organizer and a vendor herself with her business, the Nut Shop International. “We had about 1,500 people come through last year. We have quite a few new vendors this year.”

The idea for the annual spring show began in 2008, when the chamber sponsored a business-to-business event in Massena that was good for networking but did not grab the public’s attention.

“We wanted to figure out how to boost attendance,” Ms. Roberts said.

Live entertainment for today will include fiddlers Don Woodcock and Gretchen P. Koehler from 4 to 5 p.m., Step It Out Dance Studio from 5:15 to 6 p.m. and folk musicians Mary Ann Casale and Andy Van Duyne from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. Saturday’s performances include Middle Eastern-style dancer Jessica Stewart from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., and musicians Kaitlyn LaShomb, Troy O’Brien and Michael Jent from noon to 3 p.m.

The event also includes live radio broadcasts and merchandise giveaways.

New vendors include two sellers of local meats; a cruise and vacation planner; Titus Mountain Family Ski Center, which has started a maple syrup line; the village of Waddington to promote the Bassmasters Elite Series and the Colton-Pierrepont Foreign Language Club selling white spruce seedlings in honor of Arbor Day. Outdoor vendors will include a bounce house rental and cedar furniture maker.

First-time vendor Judy A. Premo of Raymondville and her business, Empty Nest Birdhouses & More, will offer custom homes designed for bluebirds, wrens and chickadees, but are fine for decoration as well.

“I call them yard bling,” she said. “The birds nesting in them is a bonus.”

New vendor Kim D. Lawrence, Malone, of Keeps U In Stitches, describes herself as a sewist — a relatively new term which describes someone who creates sewn works of art. She makes boutique clothing for children and will offer hooded towels, hair clips and embroidered towels.

“I heard it was a very nice show,” she said. “This is one of the largest ones I’ve participated in, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Jane C. Rue, Richville, moved from Liverpool to help her mother and discovered in the process she could design purses, which she makes from upholstery material for her CJ Custom Creations. She also offers leather items and girl’s dresses.

Call of the Wild, South Colton, which is owned by Spencer F. Thew, will showcase its dog boarding kennel, dog sledding activities and tours, and bed and breakfast.

Employee Andre H. van der Merwe moved from South Africa, where he has worked with Siberian huskies for 20 years.

“We decided to come over and find some of the white stuff,” he said. “It’s fantastic. Dogs love it. It’s what they were meant to do.”

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