July 29, 2013


Dryden festival full of fun

Celebration at Dryden Lake includes Civil War theme this year

DrydenBob Ellis/staff photographer
Joel Carr, 5, of Virgil, left, and Braydon Homer, 7, of Marathon, listen intently as Douglas Oakes of the Living History Guild, dressed in a Union artillery uniform soldiers wore at Ft. Sumter, discusses Civil War-era weaponry at the Dryden Lake Festival.

Staff Reporter

DRYDEN — Music and cannon fire filled the air Saturday afternoon as people took part in the fourth annual Dryden Lake Festival.
Bands ranging from Lucy’s Hooch and Old’s Cool to the Intergenerational Chorus entertained people gathered outside of the pavilion and local staples such as Bacchus Brewing Co., Lou’s Hot Dogs and Bella Pizza served food and drinks throughout the afternoon.
One of the event organizers, Bonnie Scutt, said many people wanted to find a way to make use of the park while doing something for the community and to get the word out about a place people might not have heard about otherwise.
“It’s to draw them out here and show them what a great natural resource we have,” Scutt said. “And to introduce people to this beautiful park.”
Athletes from all over came as early as 5:30 a.m. to register for a combination triathlon and 5K, which began at 9:30 a.m.
Dan Schmohe also helped to organize the event and was responsible for registering people for the races. He said it was his favorite part of setting up the event because he has had the chance to see people from all over take part in the Dryden Lake Festival.
“When I get a registration online I get to see where people come from,” Schmohe said. “California, Arizona, Utah, Washington state, Philly; they come from all over. Our name’s getting out there — people know us.”
Each year the festival has a theme, and this year’s focus was on the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg.
A Civil War re-enactment unit, the 137th New York Volunteer Infantry, set up camp on the banks of Dryden Lake.
The 137 regiment was made up of companies formed out of Dryden as well as Groton and Binghamton. “That’s what made up the regiments,” said Larry Lattin, who played the role of commander. “Guys from small towns.”
Dressed in civilian and battle attire from the late 1800s, its members educated people about the life of a soldier on the front lines and fired blanks from various rifles and even a cannon across the lake.
Delbert Armstrong of Berkshire, Tioga County, was dressed as a union soldier showing curious spectators how to load and fire his 1953 Endfield rifle. He said being a member of the 137th gave him the opportunity to “keep the history alive,” and enjoyed holding demonstrations for people.
“Until you see it, you don’t really understand,” Armstrong said. “It gives you a little bit better perspective.”
Casey Lees came from Orlando, Fla., to visit her sister, Caroline, who lives in Dryden. It was her first time at the Dryden Lake Festival and she said she was impressed with the turnout and the number of things to see and do, including fireworks.
“It’s a nice family event,” Casey said. “I’ve always loved fair food and I’m a craft and vendor shopper. The more the merrier.”
“I think it’s bigger than last year, which I like,” Caroline said. “More music, good variety. I’d definitely come back next year.”
Dryden Town Councilman Steve Stelick Jr. was sharing a stick of cotton candy with his granddaughter and enjoying the weather. He said he was glad to see people from all over coming to Dryden Lake and the key was getting families together.
“The people who run this have been doing a very nice job,” Stelick said. “It’s about everyone getting together ... and the success is in the smiles on the kids’ faces.”


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