A Sublime Time at Chatham Summerfest

This past weekend, Chatham held its annual Summerfest, and for a change of pace, this year’s event was held on the surface of the sun.

Okay, not really.

But with heat index values well over 100 for the majority of the day, it might as well have been. Having said that, I was impressed with the efforts undertaken by organizers to help attendees stay cool.

As we made our way down Main Street, there were ample opportunities to pop into an air-conditioned shop and take a breather from the heat while browsing. At one end of the street there was a sprinkler – yes, we walked through it – and at the other end, a large cooler of free water.

All of the vendors were set up under pop-up tents, and one person who may or may not have been affiliated with a vendor offered us some ice cubes from his plastic bag. I appreciated the sentiment, but politely declined.

This was my first time at Chatham’s Summerfest, so I didn’t know what to expect. Sometimes these events are billed to be a lot more interesting than they actually are. But this one didn’t disappoint.

For the kids, there were train rides, a man making balloon animals, and a make-your-own pinwheel activity run by the Columbia Land Conservancy. And no one went away hungry. We saw kebabs, grilled cheeses, ice cream, frozen lemonade, and popcorn – and that’s just naming a few of the many offerings on hand.

In the entertainment category, at the time we were there, radio station WDST was broadcasting at one end of the street, and at the other end there was a live band entertaining the crowd enjoying a selection of beers from the Chatham Brewery.

Not registered to vote? The Columbia County Democrats and Republicans both had booths to assist you with the necessary paperwork.

And if you were looking to replace your bathtub, you could have signed up for a free quote.

But let’s be honest. We don’t go to these things to see the same things we can see at any event. There’s nothing wrong with that stuff, but we go to find the unique, the thing we haven’t seen before, or to find the thing we didn’t know we needed until we found it and then couldn’t live without it.

At Chatham’s Summerfest, that title goes to the opportunity to purchase art from the back of a Cadillac. Yes, you read that correctly. Schodack Landing artist Tom Fraser was on hand with “The Art Caddy,” and there were indeed paintings for sale in the trunk.

Fraser paints local landscapes featuring well-known landmarks in and around Columbia County. He said this was his first time at the event. His work was quite good, so I hope he sold a lot of it.

Overall, this was totally worth attending, and it will be on my list for events to look out for next summer.

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