Slater Brothers Entertainment’s Hamilton International Film Festival (HIFF), founded by brothers Wade, Grant and Todd Slater, whose father, Terry Slater, was the head hockey coach at Colgate University for 15 years, is returning for a 3rd year with an impressive all star line up of films, charity themed events and parties.

The Festival is set to take place August 4th – 7th, 2011. The brother’s efforts to bring back top international films, award winning directors, and academy nominated actors is based on their  desire to expand the arts and film awareness in Central New York. This year’s festival also has screenings dedicated to organizations and charities close to the brother’s hearts, including Thursday night, August 4th screening at the Hamilton Movie Theater where 100% of proceeds will be dedicated by SBE to Hamilton Central School.

Through the Film Festival, the Slater brothers aim to bring a piece of Hollywood back to the area they proudly grew up in and provide a platform to recognize local area talent and advance the careers of aspiring filmmakers. Supported by the town of Hamilton, NY and Colgate University, this year’s festival will have some of the biggest filmmakers and entertainment companies in attendance. The first film will be screened at 7pm on Thursday night at the Hamilton theater and events will continue throughout the weekend, capped off with a festival closing night party and guest DJ at the newly renovated Colgate Inn in downtown Hamilton.  

Todd Slater’s announcement of the line up and scheduled filmmakers set to appear came with great excitement, “This year we wanted to get the best films possible for our festival so we reached out to some of the world’s best international film festivals, including Cannes, Toronto and Tribeca, and we got an incredible response. We feel very fortunate to have award winning selections as well as many of the directors, producers and stars attending who are responsible for them. My brothers and I started this festival week to give back to the area we grew up in. We couldn’t think of a better way to promote the arts of Central New York than by hosting this annual event.”

The annual Buy Local Week in Madison County kicks off this Sunday, July 17, at Monanfran Farm in Canastota, owned by Maurice and Amy Kelsey and family.  The event will be held from 2-6 p.m. and will feature local foods and live bluegrass music.

Dinner at the Fresh! Gala will be prepared by Serendipity Catering with foods supplied by over two dozen Madison County farms.  The meal will include a steamship of beef from Sidehill Beef, Meadowood Farm lamb kabobs, Maple Avenue Farms beef sliders, sausage from Drover Hill Farm and Ingallside Meadows Farm, Canaseraga Farm's fried green tomatoes, cheese from Dutch Girl Cheese and Jewett's Cheese house, and much much more.  Wine will be supplied by Owera Vineyards, beer from the Empire Brewing Company, hard cider from the Harvest Moon cidery at Critz Farm, hops lemonade from Foothill Hops Farm, and coffee and tea from Shapna. 

Wagon rides to the dairy barn will offer a first-hand glimpse at the dairy operation and the Kelsey’s prizewinning Holsteins.  A silent auction and raffle will also be included in the festivities.  More than 200 people attended the Fresh! Gala last year. 

Tickets for this year’s Gala can be purchased online at: http://madisoncountyagriculture.com/buylocalweek/?page_id=4 

 Taste of the County will be an ongoing event at 6 participating restaurants (Circa, the Colgate Inn, the Copper Turret, the Hamilton Inn, Ye Olde Landmark Tavern, and the Poolville Country Store) from Monday, July 18, through Saturday, July 23.  Menus are available on our website: www.madisoncountyagriculture.com

Forty farms and three farmers markets will participate in Open Farm Day this year. The farms will open their doors to the CNY community on Saturday, July 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.   Farms will be offering samples, farm tours and rides, as well as animal interaction, and many farms will have farm stores or stands where you can purchase their products.  Passports will be distributed the week of Open Farm Day in the Hi Neighbor, Mid-York Weekly, and Oneida Daily Dispatch newspapers.  Passports will also be available for download at www.madisoncountyagriculture.com/buylocalweek. All details, including maps and addresses, are posted on the website.  And, you can follow Buy Local Week on Facebook and Twitter.

Madison County Agricultural Economic Development (315-684-3001 x 125) is proud to announce this year’s sponsors of Buy Local Week:  Price Chopper Grocery Stores, Cazenovia Equipment, National Grid, Rosamond Gifford Foundation, Gorman Foundation, Central New York Community Foundation, Eastern Carolina-Vail, Farm Credit East, Farm Bureau, Empire Brewing Company, Owera Vineyards, Harvest Moon Cidery at Critz Farm, Shapna Tea & Coffee, Serendipity Catering, Off the Path Media, Madison County Tourism, CNYBounty.com, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County.

I'll be honest,we've slacked over the past week updating you with links about what is happening in the county.  A little vacation here, a little pile on the desk there and it is suddenly Friday.  So without further ado, here are some relevant links from around the interwebs this morning.Canal Fest Eventful Day in Chittenango (Oneida Daily Dispatch)  This event often gets lost as it is only two weeks after the annual Oz celebration, but this National Park recognized gem puts on a great event.

Cyclists Pedal Through Madison, Oneida Counties on Cycling the Erie Canal Tour (Oneida Daily Dispatch) Every year a group of bicyclists take a cross state tour along the Erie Canal. They passed through here yesterday. 

Madison County to Host CNY Firemen's Convention (Madison County Courier) This is a great opportunity for the Hamilton Area to show itself off.  There will be a lot of firemen in town this weekend and it should be a nice economic boost to the area.

Brookfield Speedway Drivers Take to the Track in Reunion (Madison County Courier) Another new event to the county fair was very well received.

Lorenzo Driving Competition in 35th Year
(Madison County Courier) A fantastic event that allows us to stake our claim as Equine Alley.

Summer Cycling starts in Cazenovia (Cazenovia Republican) Share the roads with our bikers, the motorized ones and the leg powered ones too.

Video of the Day: Central NY Name Change

Last week saw the 172nd running of the Madison County Fair.  It was one of the biggest and best fairs in year.  You can check out a ton of pictures from the fair on their Facebook page

The Directors of the Madison County Fair would like to express their sincere gratitude to all of the volunteers, sponsors, exhibitors, vendors and patrons who assisted in making the 172nd edition of the Madison County Fair a tremendous success. Once again the Fair saw a gain in attendance with more than twenty thousand patrons passing through the gates.
The vital support of the Madison County Board of Supervisors, Madison County Courier, Madison County Tourism, Madison County Sheriff’s Department, Madison County Youth Bureau and all of the County Offices that contributed to the success of the 2011 Fair is truly appreciated.
Yet again the Demo Derby proved to be a smashing success playing to a capacity crowd that sold out the grandstand in a little over an hour. The Truck Pull attracted a large number of participates that persevered into the early morning hours. After a hiatus of several years a number of cows, horses, goats, and sheep returned to the Fair to compete for prizes. The newly renovated horse arena was a big hit with the equine exhibitors and all of the livestock barns bustled with activity.
Plans have already begun for the 173rd edition that will take place on July 12-15, 2012. In the meantime preparations are underway for the 40th edition of Wheel Days that will take place Sept. 23-25 on Madison County Fairgrounds.
Anyone interested in getting involved with the Madison County Fair or any of the events held on the Fairgrounds is encouraged to contact a Fair Board member.
For a more information visit us online at www.madisoncountyfairny.com
Friend us on facebook at “The Madison County Fair” or call (315) 899-5867
The Great Swamp Conservancy is Madison County's only nature center featuring miles of hiking trails and a large number of conservation programs.  The file below is their summer newsletter.  Enjoy!
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Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds, cotton candy, the demolition derby. All things that make summertime county fairs great, right? Well, the folks at the Madison County Fair have been doing it right for over 170 years now and this year they have a lot of fun packed into 4 great days.

A short drive through the countryside can transport you to a place where $2 can purchase an entire day of exciting family entertainment. At the Madison County Fairgrounds in Brookfield, NY from July 7th-10th you can enjoy all the offerings of a traditional agricultural fair: animals, agricultural exhibits, midway, contests, pageants and shows.

Visit kangaroos, lemurs, leopards, tortoises, parrots and capuchin monkeys at the educational interactive show presented by the Two by Two Zoo. Enjoy a parade and then root for the firemen competing in a Push Ball Contest. Meet champion auto racers and listen to their stories at Brookfield Speedway Drivers Reunion. Experience the magic of an award-winning magician when Matt Episcopo takes the stage. Cheer on the CNY Garden Tractor Pullers as they go the distance. Dance to the beat of some of the numerous bands appearing on stage – My New Obsession Band, Nelson Brothers Band, Jason Wicks Band, Pulsate Classic Rock Band, and Virgil Cain One Man Band Performance. All of this and more for a mere $2 general admission fee (under age 5 free everyday; over age 60 free on July 8th).

For a few additional dollars, you can take a wild ride, enjoy some delicious fair cuisine, or take in one of the grandstand shows: truck pull, tractor pull, or King’s Smash’em Crash’em Demolition Derby & Rollover Contest. For a complete schedule of events visit us online at www.madisoncountyfairny.com, or for more information call (315) 899-5867.

Live Space Entertainment in association with Cazenovia College presents an evening with Leon Redbone, one of the most unique voices in American music. Redbone will perform live on stage at the Catherine Cummings Theater at Cazenovia College, 16 Lincklaen St., Cazenovia, on Friday, Aug.5 at 8 p.m.

Doors open at 7 p.m., with cash bar available. General admission is $30 – tickets are available through www.brownpapertickets.com; by calling 800-838-3006, or 315-655-STAR; or may be purchased at Cazenovia Jewelry on Albany St. in Cazenovia, and at Sound Garden in Armory Square.

Over the course of his more than thirty-year career, Redbone has continued his love affair with tunes from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century, flapper-era radio ditties, Depression-spawned ragtime and World War II folk-jazz. Redbone’s career first gained momentum in the early seventies when Bob Dylan sought him out at the Mariposa Folk Festival. He appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1976, showcasing his indelible version of "Walkin’ Stick."

Redbone and his music have enjoyed wide exposure in movies, television and stage shows. He appeared as a wise, animated snowman opposite Will Ferrell in the hugely successful "Elf." His duet with Zooey Deschanel on the seasonal standard, "Baby it’s Cold Outside," served as the picture’s theme. Over the years, Redbone has also provided TV title tunes to "Mr. Belvedere, and "Harry and the Hendersons," and had a memorable guest role as the quixotic, guitar-wielding guardian to the character Corky on ABC’s critically acclaimed series, "Life Goes On." New York choreographer Eliot Feld recently created the ballets "Mr. XYZ" (featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov), and "Paper Tiger," which were woven around Redbone’s signature songs.

If there is one common element to Redbone’s diverse music it’s his mastery of his acoustic guitar. It’s easy to get lost in his stage exploits, which often shift between vaudeville and performance art, and overlook what a truly fine player he is—fingerpicking with a ragtime bounce or jumping between chords with the grace of a card shark, making it look so effortless it can often be deceiving.

The Spirit House Society (SHS) will be holding a Spirit Fair at the Cazenovia American Legion on Sunday August 14th from 10AM to 6PM. The Fair will consist of readers (psychics), alternative healers (Reiki, energy), metaphysical vendors and others. There will be informational talks on the hour by authors, healers and others. Admission will be $5, proceeds to benefit the Spirit House Society (SHS.)

A Signature Event
Bob Canino SHS steering committee member who is organizing the event said that he” wanted to have a signature event to announce our effort to buy and restore Spirit House.”  Canino has been organizing holistic and psychic fairs in upstate NY for over a decade and anticipates having 20+ vendors participating in the event.

In the Spiritualist’ Tradition
“Readers, psychics are part of Spiritualism and we look to honor Spirit House’s rich Spiritualist tradition,” said Madis Senner who is leading the effort to buy and restore Spirit House.  Senner also felt that the Spirit Fair was a great way to develop a support and client base if and when they should succeed in their effort to procure Spirit House and turn it into a retreat center. “If we want Spirit House to be a place for the historically and spiritually minded then the sooner that we can begin that effort the better”, Senner said.

For more information go to: www.spirithousesociety.org

Come join us and explore arts and leisure at the turn of the 20th century at The Madison County Historical Society’s Charles E. Page Summer History Camp August 2nd- 4th  from 10 am- 3 pm.   The camp is geared for children between the ages of 8-12 years. MaryBeth Russo, a fourth grade teacher at Willard Prior, Madison County Historical Society Trustee, and Co-Chair of Education Committee will lead the camp at the society.


The camp will offer a series of presentations and activities focused on various art forms, trends, and games prevalent at the turn of the 20th century in America. On Tuesday, guest speaker, Linda Russell, a historical musician and Pam Lynch, an art educator will present programs on art and music followed by workshops on silhouette making, decoupaging, and playing period instruments. On Wednesday, the artistry of floral design, a popular leisure activity, will be demonstrated by Oneida Floral. The program continues as travel and fashion come to life as Mary Jeanne Bialas, educator and historical re-enactor of the Victorian era, will time travel into the past with trunks and satchels, packed and ready to go.On Thursday, Julie Colvin, of Oneida, will demonstrate the art of bead making followed by a presentation by Oneida Indian Nation educators on Native American’s cultural perspective on arts and leisure. Daily the campers will be journaling about their experiences, touring the society’s beautiful home, Cottage Lawn, and playing a favorite leisure pastime game of croquet.

The enrollment fee for the camp is $50 for MCHS members and $60 for nonmembers. No refund will be given to those who withdraw after the first day of camp. The deadline to enroll, as space is limited to 15 children, is July 26th.  Children must bring their own lunch each day. Snacks will be provided.

There is still time to apply for the Charles E. Page Summer History Camp Scholarship. The scholarship valued at full enrollment cost of $60 will be granted to a Madison County child that has an interest in learning about history. Applicants must be a Madison County resident between the ages of 8- 12 years and are required to submit a 100 word or less essay describing why learning about history is interesting and important to you.

Essays will be judged on creativity, neatness, and grammar.  Typed or handwritten essays are acceptable. The deadline for the scholarship is July 15th with notification on July 21st. All submissions must be sent to the Madison County Historical Society, Attn: Charles E. Page Scholarship Award, 435 Main Street, Oneida, NY 13421. Please include your name, address, age, and phone number along with your essay.

The society’s summer history camp is named in memory of Charles E. Page.  Mr. Page, a native of Madison County, operated a farm for 20 years until he was appointed Farm Employment Representative in New York State Department of Labor. Mr. Page's hobbies were gardening, wood sculpture, violin playing, genealogy, and writing about Madison County.  His passion for learning and teaching history is best recounted by his children who fondly remember their father instilling in them the importance of teaching respect for every aspect of our heritage. 

For more information or to enroll your child, please call the historical society at 315.363.4136, or email us at history@mchs1900.org. The deadline to enroll in the Charles E, Page Summer Camp is July 26th.