November 27, 2021

Soaking up good times at Annual Dryden Lake Festival

Bob Ellis/staff photographer Eammon Moneypenny-Hall gets dunked by Brooke Brown Saturday during the Dryden Lake Festival.

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

Bob Ellis/staff photographer Eammon Moneypenny-Hall gets dunked by Brooke Brown Saturday during the Dryden Lake Festival.

DRYDEN — The sun-baked the shores of Dryden Lake on Saturday and the heat slowed wandering thoughts to a gentle meander through the town.

It didn’t matter. The Dryden Lake Festival wasn’t about shouting barkers, stomach-turning rides or deep-fried bacon grease.

It was about bounce houses

Silas Coburn made a bee line for the bounce house, stripped off his sandals and climbed inside before his grandmother, Janice Vojtecky of Freeville, could say “Whoa, slow down.”

“We’ll make the rounds,” Vojtecky said as 3-year-old Silas bounced for an astounding 17 seconds before sprinting to the kiddie pool filled with soap bubbles. He left his sandals behind. “Maybe he’ll take a nap for me later.”

It was about fishing

Eddie Porter stared over the water of Dryden Lake with the practiced eye of an angler whose thoughts are far away even while waiting for a nibble. He had a new lure he wanted to try.

“They’re more life-like all the time,” he said. “I want to say there’s good fishing here, but it’s hard to do when you don’t have a canoe.”

A hundred yards away, his fiancee, Rhonda Kowalski, just shook her head. “He’s crazy.”

It was about parks

Debbie Fisher stood with Kowalski under a tent selling commemorative fence pickets to raise money for Montgomery Park. “The village doesn’t have a playground outside the elementary school,” Fisher said, handing over an artist’s rendering of a swingset, climbing equipment and other childhood amenities, as well as a schedule of fitness events through August.

Assorted municipalities and governments have committed $75,000 to the new playground, but volunteers want another $25,000 in time for the construction between Oct. 4 and Oct. 10.

“It’s a pretty cool design,” Fisher said.

It was about hammocks

Annie Butler smiled as she glanced over the hammock hung between a pair of trees. It beckoned.

The air was hot, and the wind brisk, but nobody had yet taken her up on the offer by Paddle-n-More of a free trip by kayak or paddle board around the 106-acre pond.

“It’s a bit windy, so people are going to get knocked off,” said Butler, an outdoor recreation major at SUNY Cortland.

And the hammock? “I bring it with me everywhere.”

It was about taunting

Eamonn Moneypenny-Hall taunted Brooke Brown mercilessly. What had he to worry about? He was on the other side of the bars.

It was a fund-raiser for the Dryden Drama Booster Club, three throws for a dollar, 10 for three.
Moneypenny-Hall was on the wrong side of the bars. He went into the water on Brooke’s second throw.
And her third.

It was about neighbors

Sylvia Short chatted amiably with Nick Pidlypchak by the shore of the lake. Pidlypchak was in his truck, Meg-A-Moo’s, not really caring if he sold much ice cream.

“Each year, I pick a different fundraiser and 100 percent of the proceeds goes to that,” he said. This year, it was Neptune Hose Co. No. 2.

But mostly, he was enjoying a sun-baked summer day with good friends and neighbors and all the ice cream he could sell.

“It’s a simple life; you don’t have to make it complicated,” Pidlypchak said. “It’s about having some fun.”