Quadricentennial planning continues,

CHAMPLAIN - The new year is here, and with it comes a celebration like no other - the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's exploration of the North Country.

Celine R. Paquette, vice chairperson of the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission, said events surrounding the celebration of Champlain's arrival in North America are taking shape.

"We have a lot of events planned, some of which are still in the making," said Paquette. "Here in the Champlain Valley, Hill and Hollow Music has already begun their Vive la France concert series and in Rouses Point, their annual Fete de Danse this summer will honor Champlain. The communities are doing a lot."

In the village of Champlain, a formal dedication this summer is planned for a history center Paquette has established on Elm Street. The village will also rededicate its statue of Samuel de Champlain at St. Mary's Church on Church Street.

"It's the first one of Champlain in the U.S.," Paquette noted.

Other celebrations in the town of Champlain include reinstalling a historical marker at Point Au Fer that was originally posted by members of the local chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution. Another marker is expected to be installed at a former military post at Point Au Fer which is commonly referred to as "the White House." The house has been credited as having been an important post during the American Revolution.

Mini-grants from the quadricentennial commission are helping to make several events and projects possible, including developing hiking and cross-country skiing trails in central Champlain Valley to link communities of Westport, Essex, Willsboro, Lewis and Elizabethtown. Grants have also been awarded to Ticonderoga Elementary School to participate in a project that will commemorate 400 years of history of the Ticonderoga area and to the Plattsburgh Public Library to create programs based on the quadricentennial.

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