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Daffest kicks off this weekend in Saranac Lake

Bob Bevilacqua places the Mister Blister soap box derby car on display Tuesday morning, April 24, in front of his business, Carcuzzi Car Care Center, on Lake Flower Avenue in Saranac Lake. Bevilacqua is one of the equipment inspectors for the Daffest Derby soap box derby race, which starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 28 on the LaPan Highway.

Bob Bevilacqua places the Mister Blister soap box derby car on display Tuesday morning, April 24, in front of his business, Carcuzzi Car Care Center, on Lake Flower Avenue in Saranac Lake. Bevilacqua is one of the equipment inspectors for the Daffest Derby soap box derby race, which starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 28 on the LaPan Highway. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— The second annual daffodil festival — Daffest — will begin on Friday, April 27 and continue for three weeks until Mother’s Day.

In its initial year, Daffest got off to a rocky start. Spring flooding postponed the inaugural celebration in 2011 for a week. As with any outdoor-based event in the Adirondacks, a lot depends on the weather. And when you’re dealing with flowers, they’re on their own schedule, as was witnessed this year when summer-like weather in March kick-started the growing season.

“People are really enjoying the blooms,” said Daffest organizer Cherrie Sayles.

Sayles and her Daffest team were busy in the fall of 2011 selling and planting as many daffodil bulbs in Saranac Lake as humanly possible. Their goal is to plant 1 million daffodils.

“It may take us 20 years,” she said.

In 2011, Daffest and its daffodil bulb distributor — Scotts Florist — sold 11,000 bulbs, according to Sayles. That doesn’t include the daffodils residents and businesses planted from bulbs they purchased elsewhere. Needless to say, Saranac Lake is full of daffodils this spring.

And while the weather plays an important role in Daffest each year, this springtime celebration is not necessarily about the flowers. Like the other cherished events in Saranac Lake, such as the Winter Carnival and First Night, it’s about community. And it’s about tourism.

“The heart of this event is to unite the community and to get as many eyes on Saranac Lake as we can,” Sayles said. “It really doesn’t matter what the weather is like. We’re tough; we can handle it.”

Daffest is also about fun.

The three-week Daffest schedule begins at 5 p.m. Friday, April 27 at the Harrietstown Town Hall, where Mayor Clyde Rabideau will read the official Daffest proclamation. The Daffest Signature Pastry Contest will be held in the evening next door to Saranac Lake Discount Liquor, where there will be a wine-tasting event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. And Daffest Derby officials will be inspecting soap box derby cars in from of the Town Hall from 6 to 9 p.m. Local racing celebrity Patrick Dupree will be on hand with his race car for autographs and photos with the young racers. The pastry contest winner will be announced at 9 p.m.

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