By Rich Rosentreter
The annual Oktupperfest is at hand. The festival takes place this Saturday at the Big Tupper Ski Area and on tap are plenty of fun activities and attractions geared for the entire family.
Gates will open at 11 a.m. and the festivities will include live music, food, children’s games, a raffle, a craft fair, a bow and arrow shoot, helicopter rides and, of course, beer. The event will also include chairlift rides up to the summit of Mount Morris, according Krit LaMere, events coordinator for the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce, which is co-sponsoring Oktupperfest along with ARISE.
“The chairlift is free of charge. I feel that is the main attraction for the event. People really enjoy being able to take the ride up the mountain,” LaMere said, adding that those who take the chairlift will have to walk down as it is only a one-way ride. Entry to Oktupperfest costs $5 a person or $20 a car load and proceeds go toward winter recreation in the community
LaMere said the festival is a great family event and agreed it has now become a local tradition, and something that she remembers while growing up.
“Oktupperfest is a family-oriented fall event geared at showing off the beauty of the season. I remember the festival when I was a kid at the mountain, then it disappeared for a while, and the chamber brought it back probably five years ago now,” she said. “I feel like it is a Tupper Lake tradition, most people in the area know and look forward to it every year.”
“We will have a maze set up for the kids, and Amanda Helms, the town’s youth activities director will be doing a pumpkin hunt, sack races and pumpkin painting also for the kids,” LaMere said. “For the adults we will have Big Tupper Brewery serving drinks and the usual pumpkin sling shot. The kids will get a chance to launch water balloons from it once the adults are done playing.
“There will be live music from Strange Angels and Legends, and a small craft fair set up in and outside the lodge,” she said. “The youth hockey association will be serving food and drinks to benefit their organization. We will also have the helicopter rides returning this year, and that will be dependent on the weather. Those rides will cost $30 aride.”
Music will begin at noon with a performance by Ben McClelland, Jay Martin and their new band (Strange Angels) and at 3:30 p.m., Jeff Gonyea's band, Legend, will take the stage. Chairlift rides will run from noon to 3:30 p.m.
A partial schedule of other festival activities are: at1pm, helicopter rides start; 2 pm sack races; 3 pm pumpkin hunt; 3:30 pm pumpkin sling shot; at 5pm the raffle drawing.
“The weather is a huge factor with this event because so much of it takes place outside. We have been really lucky the past few years with perfect fall days during the event, I hope this year is no different,” LaMere said. “It is a rain or shine event and most of what is going on can be moved inside the lodge if need be. But let’s hope for sunshine!”
By Rich Rosentreter