By Jay Lawson
The Adirondack Paddlefest layout will change in 2015, when the event is held in Old Forge from Thursday, May 14 through Sunday, May 17, which will make the traditional closing of Lakeview Avenue unnecessary, according to event host John Nemjo of Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company.
Adirondack Paddlefest is an annual outdoor event that Nemjo bills as America’s largest on-water canoe, kayak and paddleboard sale.
In years past, Nemjo arranged for paid use of the Old Forge lakefront and beach areas with a public road closure throughout the event.
But this year the sales portion of the event will be relocated to the Mountainman business property on Route 28, just south of town.
Opportunities to test-paddle the kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) will still take place at the Old Forge beach with shuttle service provided from the Mountainman venue.
Paddling clinics and demonstrations will also happen at the beach.
“Essentially all we’re asking for is use of the town beach this year,” Nemjo said.
The event has morphed a bit over the years, due to unpredictable May weather. For that reason Nemjo said he decided to shift things to the business location for convenience and cost efficiency.
“We’re going to try it for this year. We’ve got an enormous facility there with all of our inventory and our gear shop. We’re hoping the purchasing convenience will allow for additional sales,” he said.
The Mountainman complex has a substantial parking area, according to Nemjo. Shuttles will also transport attendees from Water Safari’s front lot in Old Forge if necessary, he said. Parking will also be available at the lakefront itself.
So, no parking problems are foreseen, according to Nemjo
“We hope for one, don’t get me wrong. That would be
ideal,” he quipped.
The overhead at the lakefront had gotten pretty heavy, so the goal this year was to provide convenience and quality service while reducing costs, according to Nemjo.
“The payment to the Town will be less, because we plan to use less space. But we were also hiring trucks, tents, and security. It’s a tremendous expense to be down on the waterfront,” he said.
“It’s also a tremendous physical toll on our staff to get everything moved down there,” he said.
Additionally, a substantial investment goes into promotion, according to Nemjo.
It’s an off-weekend and it takes a good marketing effort to draw visitors here, he said.
“Hopefully it’s a nice bonus for our businesses during a slower time of year,” he said.
The exposure for the region is positive and targeted toward outdoor recreation enthusiasts, and ripples well beyond the week of the event, he said.
Nemjo acknowledged that the short-term road closures hadn’t been everyone’s ideal.
“I’m sure there’s gonna be people in town jumping for joy that we’re not using the waterfront,” he said.
The Town of Webb’s agreement with Nemjo allows use of the Town Beach only from Thursday, May 14, through Monday, May 18.
The fee is $500, with a $500 refundable cleaning/security deposit.
There will be no need to use the lakefront park prior to the event, as in previous years.
The beach front bath house will be made available from Friday morning.
A certification of insurance will be provided by Nemjo.
The reduction in fee amounts as compared to previous years is due to:
• Lakeview Ave. will not be closed.
• The fence around the waterfront and road will not need to be set up or taken down.
• No extensive garbage service will be needed, as previously required.
• Overall 80 percent reduction of operational footprint on town property for 2015.
This is a test arrangement that hopefully will continue, but may have to be revised or reverted back for future Paddlefest events, Nemjo said.
The Town Board complimented Nemjo on Paddlefest.
“It’s been a successful event in our community—a wonderful event in our community,” said Councilman Mike Ross.
Councilmen J.B. Herron wished Nemjo well with Paddlefest in 2015 and into the future.