CHESTERTOWN Last September, hundreds of revelers in fedoras, three-piece suits and flapper dresses converged on Chestertown for a weekend to celebrate the exuberance and frivolity of the Roaring Twenties.
The new event was sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Business Alliance, which for several years has been working on jumpstarting commerce in the sleepy town that hosts too many vacant storefronts.
The event, Rum-Runners’ Weekend, struck a chord with not only local residents, but with people from the Capital Region and beyond.
From freewheeling parties and a vaudeville show of local talent — to a staged bootlegger car-chase, the weekend provided a memorable glimpse into the rich history of northern Warren County.
Thursday April 10, Rum-Runners’ Weekend was awarded as one of the eight Best Community Events by the Adirondack Park Agency. It won First Place in the Best Spring-Fall Event category. The award was presented during Local Government Day in a luncheon ceremony in Lake Placid. No less than 48 events had been entered in the competition.
Thurman Maple Days was runner-up in the Most Authentic — Adirondack division. The Seagle Colony’s summer programming won Best Event in the Historic-Cultural-Educational category. Indian Lake’s Challenge Festival, held in conjunction with Governor Cuomo’s Adirondack Challenge event, received special recognition.
In mid-September, Rum-Runners' Weekend attracted a standing-room-only crowd at its Saturday-night vaudeville show, held in the Carol Theater, a 1930s-vintage movie parlor that had in recent decades been shuttered.
People from their 20s to their 80s mingled, danced and partied long into the night, both Saturday and Sunday at “Speakeasy Nights” — where people had to utter a password to the doorman to be allowed in.
Also, mock bootleggers in antique vehicles were chased over Landon Hill by police in squad cars, one of them a vintage edition. The chase featured men dressed up as whiskey smugglers in a 1920s “woody” wagon, pursued by sheriff’s deputies. The action was witnessed by hundreds of people lining Landon Hill Road, as well as a crowd gathered at the end of the chase, at state Rte. 9.