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December 17, 2012

 

Groton events welcome ‘Boys’

By MARK FERDINAND
Staff Reporter
mferdinand@cortlandstandardnews.net

GROTON — “Home for the Holidays,” a village-wide Christmas-themed celebration, was held for the first time Saturday along Main Street. A festival of trees, ornament-making, art shows and wagon rides were among the village festivities.
According to its organizers, the event was built around a book-signing at the Groton Public Library with Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, also known as “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” a reality show duo who just last week won CBS’s “The Amazing Race” and its $1 million prize pot.
Kris Buchan, who owns the Groton Hobby Shop, had sent them a miniature version of the Beekman Farm, the setting of their reality show, “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” which was canceled after two seasons on Planet Green before being picked up this year by The Cooking Channel.
Miniature houses and figurines are among the wares sold at Buchan’s shop. He and a group of about five organizers centered the event around the book signing, the Beekman Boys’ first since winning “The Amazing Race.”
Buchan said they only agreed to the visit in October, giving the village little time to rally local entrepreneurs to support the event.
“It’s all been great. Everyone’s doing great,” Buchan said outside his store. He will take over as president of the Groton Business Association next year. Buchan said he wants to put on an event like this every year, and is already thinking about future attractions.
Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge signed books at the Groton Public Library for several afternoon hours before heading down to the Groton Hobby Shop.
Dozens of residents lined up at 11 a.m. to get copies signed of Kilmer-Purcell’s memoir, “The Bucolic Plague,” which details how he purchased a mansion and goat farm in Sharon Springs, Schoharie, and turned it into Beekman 1802, a green lifestyle company.
Two big fans were Debra Smith, a retired Moravia dairy farmer, and her mother, Grace Hallock, of Groton, who volunteered at the library for the day. Smith said she loved to watch the Beekman Boys, an openly gay couple who are engaged to be married next year, quarrel on their show as they worked their goat farm.
“I think they’re just a scream,” Smith said. “I laugh so hard at their antics.”
She said she particularly enjoys their “most wonderful smelling” goat cheese soaps.
Groton Public Library Manager Sara Knobel said all 50 of the library’s copies of the couple’s “Heirloom Cookbook” sold within 15 minutes. They were soon taking special orders.
Knobel was proud to see her library such a hub of activity.
“We’re a free public library, but really we are a community center,” she said, adding that with free air conditioning, Wi-Fi and plenty of places to sit, the library is a village hotspot.
Also volunteering was Village Board member Betty Conger, who said Buchan had proposed the festival and they put it together in about six weeks.
“It’s been a real community effort. We started out with zero dollars in donations, but businesses jumped in and helped donate for advertising,” said Conger, a lifelong Groton resident and 12-year Village Board member.
Most Groton businesses chipped in and provided their own activity to draw in customers.
The First National Bank of Groton held a drawing for a basket of Beekman 1802 products. The American Legion sold Krispy Kreme Donuts and had their own Santa Claus. Farrell’s Restaurant cooped a rather noisy rooster at its entrance, and served side dishes inspired by the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook.
Finger Lakes Shaolin-Do held free introductory classes for all ages in Kung Fu and Tai Chi.
The dojo was opened by Thomas Harris and his brother Kevin. Having rented shared space in other stores in Ithaca and Lansing, they finally decided they wanted their own space. Thomas Harris said Saturday’s event was great for drawing in potential students.
“It’s been a great first experience so far. We just opened in October,” he said.
They hold classes on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Former Groton School District librarian Linda Perreault said after getting her book signed that she had been looking forward to meeting the Beekman Boys after hearing about their coming.
Her husband, Al Perreault, was optimistic about the future of “Home for the Holidays.”
“I think it’s a great idea. And next year we’ll be better prepared,” he said.

 

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