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Crowds head to chamber show in Potsdam

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POTSDAM — Streams of shoppers headed to the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce’s Craft, Food, Wine Show on Friday even before the doors officially opened.

“We’ve already got calls from people who want to sign up for 2014,” said Alison M. Power, tourism, marketing and outreach coordinator for the chamber. “Among crafters, this is huge.”

Last year’s show attracted 5,400 people.

“We’ll get a crowd no matter what,” said Jo Ann Roberts, show organizer and a vendor herself with her business, the Nut Shop International. “People love this show.”

Rebecca L. Caruso, Massena, agreed the show is a favorite.

“This is the one craft show I look forward to coming to,” she said, ticking off the vendors she was visiting for food dips, fudge and other goodies. “Definitely the cheesecake on a stick.”

The show concludes at 4 p.m. today. Admission is $3.

The 120 local and regional vendors — spread through the rink area of Clarkson University’s Cheel Arena and the main floor — included a number of newcomers, many of whom said they were attracted by the good buzz among other sellers.

Green Mountain Mustard, Richmond, Vt., sold 10 jars of mustard within an hour of the opening.

“We really like shows in New York,” said proprietor Michael A. Adams. “New Yorkers like mustard.”

Spruce Mountain Designs, jewelry inspired by nature, Lake Placid, was also at the show for the first time.

“We’ve heard a lot of great reviews from other artists,” said Suellen McMillen. “It’s a difficult show to get into. There’s a waiting list.”

Booths offered blankets, wood products, handwoven scarves, wine, hand-blown glass, country crafts, jewelry, pot holders, yarn creations, recycled wool products, repurposed silverware, pickles, jams and maple-infused cotton candy, among other goods.

“I’ve come maybe nine times. I like to see the variety,” said Marie T. Swanson, Canton. “I was looking for stocking-stuffers. Most of my Christmas shopping is done. It’s just great to get out and see all the possibilities.”

Claire M. Bohannon, Claire’s Country Garden, Alburgh, Vt., came with cases of homemade dilly beans, corn relish, mincemeat and jams to sell. Pickles and relishes are made from vegetables grown in a 2-acre garden.

“We’ve done this show for four years, and we’ve done very well,” she said.

Her business got its start with a dozen jars of pickles and dilly beans at a craft show.

“My late husband did not want me to work outside the home, and I’m very energetic,” Ms. Bohannon said. “Eight years after I stated, we were making 15,000 jars a year, and we’re making more than that now.”

The show is one of John J. Frederick’s favorites to sell wine from Hazlitt Vineyards, Seneca Lake.

“We’ve been coming to this at least seven, maybe eight years,” he said. “This is a great show. They do a wonderful job with all the vendors they have.”

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