POTSDAM — The grill was fired up and the sweet aroma of chicken, macaroni salad and baked beans made its way down Elm Street on Thursday, signifying the official start of the 47th annual Potsdam SummerFest.
The Potsdam Elks Lodge chicken barbecue began at 11 a.m. Thursday, and the chicken was sold out well before 1 p.m.
“We’re going to have a sellout, probably in the next hour. It goes quick during the summer festival,” Elks Lodge 2074 Exalted Ruler Debora A. Moschell said shortly after the chicken started being served.
The lodge brought in 525 half chickens for the meal, according to Elks Lodge chaplain Edward J. Keleher.
“We start getting everything ready at about 5 a.m., and we’re usually sold out by noon or 1 p.m. at the latest,” Mr. Keleher said.
Potsdam resident Mary Wellings tries to attend the barbecue every year and was eager to get to the front of the line outside the lodge late Thursday morning.
“I usually do most of the days (of SummerFest.) But our 50th reunion for Potsdam Central is this weekend, so I may be skipping a few things this year,” Ms. Wellings said. “I really enjoy the antique and classic car show, and I always like the events down on Market Street, the musical stuff.”
Walt Cook, Potsdam, also enjoys checking out various parts of the four-day summer festival and frequently stops by at the barbecue.
“I try to come each year, depending on my work schedule,” Mr. Cook said. “I go to the ice cream social sometimes and like listening to the music playing on the Market Street stage.”
The Elks Lodge also will be the site of numerous festivities for children through the next two days.
The Kids Zone will run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Saturday in the lodge’s 10 Elm St. parking lot.
A concession stand will serve hot dogs, hamburgers, Italian sausages, soda, water, cotton candy and sno-cones from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
“Tomorrow we have much more going on here with the inflatables for the next two days — plus we sell food as well,” Ms. Moschell said. “The parking lot will be closed off tonight and that will all be in the parking lot area.”
Other events that took place on opening day included the Tour de Potsdam 5k walk/run and the Potsdam Rescue Squad ice cream social, as well as countless concessions and vendors along Market Street.
Performances today throughout Potsdam:
11:30 a.m., Tap to Toe; noon to 1:30 p.m., Cubby T. Clown; 2:15 p.m., Step It Out Dance.
Noon to 6 p.m.: Art Market, Old Snell Hall Lawn or inside, Park Street artisan vendors
6:30 to 8 p.m.: New Horizon Band of Northern New York, Ives Park gazebo.
8:30 p.m.: Outdoor Movie, Ives Park Gazebo, Sponsored by Dr. Stacey Howlett “Frozen” Popcorn. Water sold by Kiwanis.
Northern Music & Video Main Stage:
10 to 11 a.m.: Big Papa, rock.
11 a.m. to Noon: Mike Welch and Christian Parker, singers/songwriters.
Noon to 1 p.m.: Church & State, jazz.
1 to 2 p.m.: Mary Casale, popular/folk.
2 to 3 p.m.: Concessionaries, ’60s/’70s.
3 to 4 p.m.: KTX, pop/R&B.
4 to 5 p.m.: We Build Tomorrow, indie alternative.
5 to 7 p.m.: Northbound, classic rock.
7 to 9 p.m.: Plan B, rock.
9 to 11 p.m.: Max Ryder Band, blues/Southern rock.