TUPPER LAKE - At 90 degrees, it was a good day to be in the dunking booth at Tupperpalooza Saturday in the Municipal Park.
The chance to send some lucky volunteer tumbling into the water was one of the many attractions at the debut of this fair-like event. There were inflatable obstacle courses, carnival games for kids, food booths and face painting. There were also a few special highlights: a Cardboard Boat Regatta, floatplane rides, an Army helicopter and the 10th Mountain Division Army Band, the latter two of which traveled from Fort Drum for the occasion.
Hundreds of people were there at any given time.
A boy aims a softball to douse firefighter Royce Cole in a dunk tank at Tupperpalooza Saturday in Tupper Lake’s Municipal Park.
(Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)
After a concert that ranged from rock to polka to the kind of patriotic music you might expect from a military ensemble, 30 or so camouflage-wearing members of the Army band lined up for dinner from a food booth. Sgt. Frank Cole said Tupperpalooza was a chance to get a sense of this Adirondack village.
"These community events are great," Cole said. "They're a lot of fun. You get out and meet all different types of people, and get out and see the North Country. We're from all over the country, the United States. I'm from New Jersey, we have people from California, Texas, the commander's from Wisconsin - all over the place."
Many of those in attendance were Tupper Lakers, like 8-year-old Alexis Callaghan. She and her 4-year-old brother Bauer arrived by boat on Raquette Pond, went on the inflatable Boot Camp obstacle course and the bungee run, got temporary airbrush tattoos and even went up in a floatplane. Flying wasn't her favorite part of the day, though.
"I got sick," she said. "My brother was screaming and saying, 'Woo-woo-woo-woo!' He loved it. I didn't. I'm just not a fan of it."
Lee Wells said the Cardboard Boat Regatta was amusing, and well attended.
"They had some creative boats," he said. "They had a sea monster. They had a pirate ship. Beard (Trail's End tavern owner Mark Sutliffe) had a Viking ship."
Some of them proved more seaworthy than others.
"Some of the boats didn't make it 10 feet," Wells said.
Trevor Short grew up in Tupper Lake, and he and wife Casey stopped by Tupperpalooza while visiting from Leominster, Mass., where they live now.
"We're here for three or four days and just came down to support the local stuff that's going on," Trevor said. "It's fun. I got myself a T-shirt; we're gonna maybe throw at the dunk tank, grab something to eat, possibly a seaplane ride.
"It's good to see all my local high school buddies, families and stuff, people I know."
The Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce was the main organizing force behind Tupperpalooza, especially its events coordinator, Faith Bedore. Family Champions and the Kiwanis, Rotary and Lions clubs also helped. Sometime this week they will dissect the first-year event and look at what to keep and what to change, but Bedore wasn't ready to do that late Saturday afternoon.
"The event's still going on now, so I'm still saying it's 100-percent perfect," she said. "Until you see the whole picture, you're just on go mode and making it happen.
"For the first annual, I would say it's a success, and to watch for Tupperpalooza 2013."
August is a good time for an event like this, Bedore said. Tupper Lake's other summer events are in June and July, and even though people are still in summer mode, at this point "there's not a lot going on.
"You don't want to hit too close to September because there's school; they're shopping on the weekends, or getting the kids ready for that," she said. "The beginning and mid August are the perfect time for something like this."