CAPE VINCENT — Broadway Street was once again packed as people from all over New York flocked to the Cape Vincent French Festival over the weekend.
Maureen Milk and her husband, Dale, are from the Rochester area and decided to check out the festival before heading home.
“We have a family cottage on the other side of Alex Bay and we’re coming back to Rochester so we thought we’d pop by and check it out on the way home,” Mr Mielke said.
French pastries, French bread and vendors are what drew the couple to the festival.
Mykel “Quince” Myrick hosted the event.
“I love Cape Vincent, so I appreciate the opportunity and I imagine coming here and having a beautiful day like today and seeing all these people,” he said. “I just feel so energized and grateful.”
Joan Lauricella of Central Square attended the festival to see the parade.
“My husband’s parents have a camp on Peninsula Point, so we come and try to make it to the French Festival every year,” she said.
It was her first appearance at the festival in three years.
She said there were many more people at the festival this year than in previous years. Nicole Paratore, vice president of the Cape Vincent Chamber of Commerce and festival chair, said she’s heard the same thing.
“Some people say they think it’s the biggest event they’ve seen here in 20 years,” Ms Paratore said. “I’ve only lived here for 15 years so I can’t confirm or deny that and I don’t know how people rate it but I can tell you that every car park was full and we got to a point where we were running into some urgent challenges and had to to completely start blocking traffic in places where we’ve never had to block traffic for the safety of passing cars.”
Francis A. Leticia Jr., co-owner of Telly’s Inn, was upset with the way the streets were blocked and said he plans to sue the village for lost profits. He also said that he was “done with the hall”.
Ms Paratore said fire police were diverting traffic on Grant Road to see where drivers were going, and if they needed to come into town they were allowed to.
“If people were trying to park, (the fire police) would divert them down Grant Road to our large parking lot to transport them into town,” she said. She also said that if people tell them they will be driving into town not for the festival, they are allowed to.
Last year, due to a smaller event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic was not diverted along Bay Street, according to Ms. Paratore. She also said that every year before that is where people have been turned away to park and that it depends on New York State and what the fire marshal thinks is best for people’s safety.
Ms Paratore said traffic diversions would stop after the parade, which was around 3.30pm.
Although traffic was not rerouted after the parade ended, Mr. Leticia said he still planned to sue for lost lunchtime benefits until then.
Robin Adams of Watertown said she enjoys watching the parade.
“There are a lot of people here today,” she said. She thinks there were a lot of people out and about because the previous two years were affected by the pandemic.
Jennifer Hines of Heuvelton said she comes out every year to watch her daughter march in the parade. Ms Hines said she also participated in the parade.
Ms Parator said the chamber was excited that the French Festival would feel more normal this year.
“It’s been a tradition for us in this community for over 50 years and we’re so excited to bring it back to normal size again and again and we’re going to continue to do whatever it takes to make it the right size for our community and make it a great event , for people to come to,” Ms. Paratore said.
The fun started Friday with a block party, continued all day Saturday with a parade and fireworks show, and vendors wrapped up the weekend on Sunday.
“I’m glad to see people are out and having a good time,” Ms Adams said.