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Hobofest draws a big crowd ... and keeps’em jammin’

September 3, 2012
By CHRIS MORRIS - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - Hordes of people packed the lawn next to the train station here on Sunday for the fourth annual Hobofest.

The festival featured live music beginning late in the morning and continuing into the night, and the weather - just a few clouds and temperatures in the 70s - attracted hundreds of locals and visitors. A tent that covered most of the grassy area in front of the stage, a new addition this year, wasn't necessary, but festival organizer Peter Seward was fine with that.

"It was a precaution against the weather," he said. "I thought I could promise a good day of weather. It is a relief to be out of the sun."

Article Photos

A couple dances to the music of the Stan Oliva Band, of Keene, at Hobofest Sunday afternoon in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

Seward estimated that hundreds of people had attended the festival by about 3 p.m., and he expected more to show up as the day went on. Volunteers sold Hobofest gear, including T-shirts and hats, and local restaurant Eat 'n' Meet Grill and Larder served up hot food.

Vermontville native Josh Duke attended Hobofest for the first time on Sunday, and he said he was impressed with the turnout.

"I think it's really interesting," he said of the festival. "It's something you wouldn't expect. It's nice to see the whole community come out."

Brittany Clark of Paul Smiths said the event was "well organized."

Dick Bentley, who lives near Mt. Arab in the town of Piercefield, was onsite demonstrating his "railbike," a bicycle converted for use on railroad tracks. He said the railbike has been an "evolutionary design" for more than 20 years.

"I've used it between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid," he said. "I've also used it a lot between Mt. Arab and Bog River."

Performers at this year's Hobofest got paid for the first time in the event's history. Seward said the funding for that came from a state Council on the Arts grant.



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