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Flower Power: Saranac Lakers set the stage for Daffest

SARANAC LAKE - The spring season is often a quiet time in Saranac Lake, but a handful of ambitious village residents are hoping a few hundred-thousand daffodil bulbs will change all that.

Mayor Clyde Rabideau joined local realtor Cherrie Sayles and representatives of the Saranac Lake Women's Civic Chamber in Veteran's Triangle Park April 30 to announce the launch of Daffest, an initiative to establish an annual festival in Saranac Lake centered around the vibrant perennial flowers

"I felt like we needed a festival early in the season," said Sayles, who came up with the idea while driving through the village one day. "I decided we needed some yellow."

Sayles recalled a visit to an annual tulip festival in Ottawa, Ontario, a weekend of music and entertainment highlighting the city's millions of tulip bulbs. "Why not try the same thing with daffodils?" she thought.

"Daffodils are very hardy in this area," said Liz Murray, vice president of the Women's Civic Chamber, "and they are one of the first things that come up through the snow."

From now until August 10, Daffest "Petal Pushers" will attempt to take orders for daffodil bulbs from local businesses, organizations, and residents. Their goal is to have one million daffodils planted throughout the village this fall in preparation for a three-day festival planned for April 29 through May 1, 2011.

"We want to have another annual event to bring people to this town," Murray added, "and we are just the town that can do it."

With help from village officials, Murray and other Women's Civic Chamber members identified 31 separate sections of the village, each of which will have a "Chief Bloom" charged with organizing planting efforts.

Special attention will be given to the town's many parks. Historic Saranac Lake will assist with planting along the paths of its historic walking tours.

"Whenever somebody drives in, they're just going to be overwhelmed with daffodils," said Murray.

The bulbs will be ordered through Scott's Florist in Saranac Lake. Proceeds from the sale of locally-produced t-shirts, hats, and aprons bearing the Daffest logo, together with business sponsorships and donations, will help fund the celebration.

"We're going to put our own stamp on it," said Sayles.

To find out more about Daffest, visit the newly established Web site, www.Daffest.com, where visitors can donate, order merchandise, and volunteer for planting efforts in their neighborhood.

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