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Champlain celebration slated in Crown Point

CROWN POINT - Plans are being made to mark Samuel de Champlain's discovery of the lake that bears his name.

More than 75 events are being planned in 2009, including one at the Champlain Memorial lighthouse in Crown Point, to mark the 400th anniversary of Champlain's arrival.

The local ceremony will be Sept. 19 and be part of the Crown Point Historic Site's annual Festival of Nations. The festival will be held Sept. 18-20.

Organizers recently gathered at the Samuel de Champlain History Center in Champlain to discuss priorities and logistics of the celebration.

Tom Hughes, Crown Point Historic Site manager, and June Curtis of the Ticonderoga Historic Society joined Celine Paquette, Essex County Historian Margaret Gibbs, Mary Ann Castine from Plattsburgh and state Department of Environmental Conservation official Chuck Vandrei for a meeting of the Crown Point Legacy Project committee.

Th committee supports the 2009 Champlain region work of the New York State Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission, on which Paquette serves as vice chairwoman, Hughes explained.

This year also marks the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's exploration of the Hudson River and the 200th anniversary of Robert Fulton's first steamboat on the Hudson.

"The Crown Point Lighthouse, built in 1858, was transformed into the Champlain Memorial lighthouse in 1912," Hughes said. "It features a larger-than-life sculptural bronze statue of Samuel de Champlain.

"A joint New York-Vermont observance of the Champlain 400th anniversary will take place this September at Crown Point State Historic Site, Crown Point Reservation Campground, the Lake Champlain Bridge and Chimney Point State Historic Site on the Vermont end of the bridge," he said.

The Festival of Nations celebrates the cultural heritage of the nations which, during the 1700s, left a lasting imprint on the Lake Champlain Valley: Canada, France, Great Britain, Native American Indian tribes, and the United States.

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