Rachael Ray charms full room at her alma mater

The conversation was casual between Rachael and her audience. She urged the crowd to sing "Happy Birthday" to her friend Andrew "Cappy" Caplan," who heads up her charitable foundation and helped set up the food to be prepared. The audience obliged.

The crowd heard all about Ray, her family, her dog, and her love for cheese - "The stinkier the better," she said.

Questions were welcomed from the audience throughout the night, ranging from her contributions in society, to her husband's favorite food.

People demonstrated their love for her with gifts, including a model skateboard - with a high heel attached - presented by Lake George students seeking to develop a local skateboard park. She accepted the gifts with gratitude.

During the show, Rachael mentioned local sites and enterprises freely, including talking of how she'd be a vegetarian except for Oscar's bacon, "the best in the world." George's Restaurant also received plenty of mention, as they catered the food - concocted from Rachael Ray recipes - served after the event.

At the end of the show, a long line of fans sought autographs as well as photographs and chatter with her, and as always, she spent ample time with each one. In past years, these one-on-one sessions with Rachael at the Lake George show have lasted up to 90 minutes or more.

Show attendee Dawn Wagner of Wilton, said she was impressed how Rachael Ray spent so much time with the audience.

"I just can't believe I'm here," she said with a star-struck expression.

(Adirondack Journal Editor Thom Randall contributed to this report.)

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