Caroga hosts a day of history and music

Young people play some simple songs guided by members of the Caroga Lake Music Festival on Saturday at the former Sherman’s Amusement Park. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

CAROGA — The former Sherman’s Amusement Park got in the spotlight twice in one day.

An exhibit housing the amusement park’s arcade artifacts was on display Saturday at a fair run by the Caroga Historical Museum on London Bridge Road that brought back memories to visitors.

“I can remember my parents bringing us up here [to Sherman’s],” said Bill Quinn of Fonda. “I was mesmerized.”

His wife, Lorna, recalls riding on the carousel. “This is the first time I’ve been at this museum,” she said.

“It brings back a lot of memories,” said Wendy Bunker of East Caroga Lake and Lee Center. “I remember being terrified of ‘Grandma’.”

Doug Smith of the Caroga Historical Museum points out a Wurlitzer Style 125 Military Band Organ, a replica of an organ once played at Sherman's Amusement Park arcade. It was displayed at a fair Saturday at the museum. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Grandma was a fortune teller machine that a lot of kids were afraid of, said museum member Doug Smith.

Among the other artifacts are a high striker, a bumper car and a Wurlitzer Style 125 Military Band Organ built between 1906 and 1920–a replica of what Sherman’s had.

“It’s interesting and cool,” said Olen Costello said of the Sherman’s display. Olen and his brother, Elliot, both of Caroga, were visiting with their grandmother, Carole Deyoe of Caroga. “History is important,” she said.

“It might have been harder work but simpler times.”

Doug Purcell, museum president, said the historical society has eight buildings on display–a cobbler shop, general store, ice house, Sherman arcade machines, a homestead, a barn for art exhibitions, and an outhouse.

Kyle Price, artistic director of the Caroga Lake Music Festival, provides commentary for children on the string instruments played by a festival ensemble at the former Sherman's Amusement Park. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Saturday was Joe Miklic’s first visit to the museum. The Fonda resident said he was impressed with the exhibit of Nick Stoner (1762-1853), a historical figure involved in both the Revolution and War of 1812. “I never knew who he was,” said Miklic.

Paul Stone of Owego, who has a summer camp in Caroga, said, “We come every year to meet friends and always find something interesting.”

Durey Creek Bluegrass Band provided music.

The museum has nature art on display in the barn by Phil Jaros of Meco through July 28. Then it will show sculptures by Anthony Garner of Troy and paintings and prints by George Dirolf of Clifton Park from Aug. 1 through 25. The museum is open Thursdays through Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, a short hop down the road, players of the Caroga Lake Music Festival were entertaining a crowd at Sherman’s pavilion and involving young people in performing simple songs.

Durey Creek Bluegrass Band performs at a fair Saturday at the Caroga Historical Museum. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

A festival string ensemble played Van Williams’ “Fantasy Quintet,” which evokes a sense of horse riding.

After that, they got children involved in playing “I’m a Little Monkey,” “Bread and Peanut Butter,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Popcorn.”

“The idea essentially is getting kids involved in arts, listening and hearing new instruments,” said Kyle Price, a cellist and artistic director of the music festival.

“The arts give outlets to kids’ creativity, expressing feelings,” he said. “You give the kids a way to express their feelings in an individual manner as well as working together.”

At the end of the program, children were allowed to touch and produce notes on a cello.

Children have a chance to try out string instruments with the help of people with the Caroga Lake Music Festival on Saturday at the former Sherman's Amusement Park. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Kit Poulen, a cellist from Chicago, said experience with instruments allows children to decide what instrument they like. He said he chose the cello because he was “drawn to the lower sounds.”

Children have a chance to try out string instruments with the help of people with the Caroga Lake Music Festival on Saturday at the former Sherman's Amusement Park. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Children have a chance to try out string instruments with the help of people with the Caroga Lake Music Festival on Saturday at the former Sherman's Amusement Park. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

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