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Festival honors generations past

It was high time for a history lesson in the Village of North Syracuse, as residents and visitors celebrated their roots with food, entertainment and a little time travel for the 25th annual Plank Road Festival on Aug. 6.

Organized by the Plank Road Historical Society, the festival at Toll Road Park raised "more than enough" dollars for the Plank Road Village, according to society members. Vera Desimone, vice president of the historical society and organizer for the event, said the turnout, weather and fiscal gains culminated in one of the most successful festivals to date.

"This will help tremendously in maintaining the park for another year," she said, adding that both old and young enjoyed the festival's offerings.

"There is so much historical value there (at the village). It's good for kids to be able to come in and visit the park, and to see what it was like for children who lived here years ago, and just how little they had. Older residents had the chance to remember what it was like when they were growing up alongside the Plank Road," she said.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. festival-goers could see and participate in a variety of entertainment including karate demonstrations, hat contests, tours of the schoolhouse, a magic show, Pipsqueak the clown, an ice cream social and cow chip bingo, which gave contestants the chance to bet on where cattle dropped apple-sized, winning-ticket "pies." There were also food, jewelry and paintings for sale.

For 94-year-old Dorothy Randall of North Syracuse, the festival signified more than a day of fun; it was also a gateway to her past. The schoolhouse reminded her of the one she went to school in, and also of the plank road she traveled on as a teenager.

"This sure brings back a lot of memories," said Randall, who's lived in the area for almost 50 years. "I remember back when we used to ride horse-driven bobsleds from Cicero to Brewerton, long before it was ever Route 11."

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