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Rum-Runners Weekend to celebrate area's Prohibition-era heritage

Don Butler of the Tri-Lakes Business Alliance poses in his 1920 Model T, which is to be featured in several of the events planned for Rum Runners Weekend, which the Alliance is planning for September 13 through 15 in Chestertown and Pottersville. The festival is to showcase northern Warren County's role as a stopover during Prohibition for smugglers transporting rum to Manhattan from Canada. The weekend includes a staged rum-runner car chase, a burlesque/vaudeville show, silent movies at the historic Carol Theater, a batting contest and a speakeasy costume ball at the Panther Mountain Inn.

Don Butler of the Tri-Lakes Business Alliance poses in his 1920 Model T, which is to be featured in several of the events planned for Rum Runners Weekend, which the Alliance is planning for September 13 through 15 in Chestertown and Pottersville. The festival is to showcase northern Warren County's role as a stopover during Prohibition for smugglers transporting rum to Manhattan from Canada. The weekend includes a staged rum-runner car chase, a burlesque/vaudeville show, silent movies at the historic Carol Theater, a batting contest and a speakeasy costume ball at the Panther Mountain Inn. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Planning is underway among Tri-Lakes Business Alliance members for a first-ever area event that’s to celebrate the local Prohibition-era heritage.

Historians say that rum-runners stopped over in Pottersville when they were smuggling alcoholic beverages into the U.S. from Canada — transporting them down Rte. 9, the main route to New York City.

“Rum-Runners Weekend” is now being planned for the weekend of Sept. 13 through Sept. 15, and it’s to include a vaudeville/burlesque show in the local theater, a Speakeasy Night, an antique rum-runner car chase over Landon Hill with police in pursuit, and a Babe Ruth baseball event with players in vintage clothing.

The Speakeasy Night will feature folks dressed in 1920s attire including a Great Gatsby impersonator. Entry to the host saloon will only achieved by uttering a password at a locked door — or patrons pay a cover charge.

During the weekend, local restaurants will be playing silent movies, and store proprietors are to wear Prohibition-era clothing — already being crafted by a local seamstress.

More volunteers are needed to help organize the event. To help out, call Cindy Mead at 494-3016 for details.

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