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Oktupperfest returns to park this fall with Vintage Snowmobile Show

Dan McClelland

After a year’s hiatus, Tupper Lake’s beloved fall festival is returning, bringing the community together on shared love—beer, food, fun, live music and fall foliage this Saturday (October 5).

This will be the first time that the Oktupperfest will actually be held in October. Traditionally it has been the last weekend or so of September.

This will be the first time too it is paired with another local event.

The Oktupperfest will run from 1p.m. to 6p.m. at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park, on the gazebo side of the outer field.

From a lack of event-coordinating personnel, the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce’s Oktupperfest couldn’t come together last year but this year it’s coming back in full action.

“We’re trying to get something a little different going this year,” said lead organizer, Hayley McCottery, the former chamber event-coordinator who ran community events like the Brewski and the Phil Edwards Memorial Hockey Tournament. “It’s hard that we can’t be at the mountain, that’s what everyone knows about Oktupperfest.”

With support from the chamber of commerce, the festival is coming to fruition with the excitement and enthusiasm that the young events-coordinator brings to her projects. Although Ms. McCottery is no longer affiliated with the chamber, she’s returning to her old role temporarily to revive this event.

For over 30 years Oktupperfest was held atop Mt. Morris where the community informally celebrated the end of the short Adirondack summers, the beautiful red, orange and yellows of the changing season and the approaching winter where, back then, the community would go on to ski the slopes of Big Tupper months later.

The last Oktupperfest, in 2017, the event had to, regretfully, come down from the mountain for the first time. The event was held instead at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park due to the Adirondack Club’s developments that were underway on the mountain.

Despite the community’s unconditional support that year, the cold, rainy weather and overall environment at the park didn’t quite feel like an Oktupperfest that this community was used to. Something felt a little off.

A few locations were considered for this year’s event with the municipal park never making the cut.

Organizers considered Little Wolf Beach, Tupper Lake’s local vacation spot and the destination for the tri-annual Little Wolfstock, with its sandy beaches and its close-proximity to the downtown and the Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory, leaving opportunity for a diverse range of activities.

After further planning, Little Wolf Beach had to be ruled out. The beach’s water supply was shut off at the end of the summer which would cause issues with attaining food permits required by the food vendors that will be on site at the event.

Organizers came to a more-appropriate location, not far from the original Oktupperfest grounds—the Tupper Lake Golf Course. Unfortunately a wedding that day at the Burgundy Steakhouse made it difficult to stage the major event there.

So the decision was made to stage it again at the municipal park. The outer area of the park was the setting for this month's successful Rock the Arc and things there worked out well.

Organizers are hoping for great weather to make the event the best it can be.

Final preparations are coming together well this week.

Like a typical Oktupperfest, there will be plenty of activities for all ages to enjoy including archery tag, an inflatable obstacle course, a mechanical bull to ride, pumpkin painting and crafts. It will be a day of fun for the entire family.

Organizers are also getting Zorb Balls for the event, giant inflatable, human-sized hamster balls where anyone can roll, bounce and bump around in a safe and playful nature.

Local rock band Bitter Sweet will be providing musical entertainment, as well as Night School, a Tupper Lake favorite whose musical instructors will be teaching lessons on the changing leaves and German traditions. Night School will start to play at 1p.m. and Bitter Sweet at 3p.m.

Event-goers can also expect a variety of beer to enjoy, including craft beers and lighter options like Coors Light, Miller Lite and Bud Light.

Organizers are also working out food vendors for the event to provide a variety of foods to go along with the festivities. One popular food purveyor will be the Tupper Lake Lions Club which will be serving up hamburgers and hotdogs, smothered, of course, in the famous Lions caramelized onions.

All the monies generated at this year's Oktupperfest will go to benefit the Tupper Lake Rescue Squad, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The chamber of commerce is always looking for additional support, sponsorships and volunteers. If interested, contact the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce at (518) 359-3328, or pop into their office at 121 Park Street.

This year marks the first time that the Oktupperfest will be paired with the Tupper Lake Snowmobile Club's second Vintage Snowmobile Show at the park. The snowmobile event will be staged around the Rotary pavilion.

That show begins at 8a.m. and awards for the best and most unusual vintage sleds will be presented about 2p.m.

Trophies will be awarded in nine classes: antique, trail 67-85, muscle sled pre-81, factory race sled pre-81, actively raced sled pre-1986, custom, cutter, mini and best of the show.

Entry fees are $5 per sled but $15 is the maximum fee.

Many vendors will be present and there are expected to be tons of door prizes.

Reese and Kelly Fleury are again two of the key organizers.

For more information call or text 518 524-2005.