November 30, 2021

A rollicking weekend

You can’t do it all, but there’s lots you can do

Cortland Standard file photos

Top Left, one of several teams run by the Powerful Porcelain Pushers, an extended family group of more than 70 people from mainly New York state and New Jersey, compete in the 2019 Fillmore Days Bathtub Races. At top right, children watch the parade of trucks in 2019 at the 20th Annual National Brockway Truck Show. After a one-year hiatus, the show returns this weekend to downtown Cortland. Bottom, Jack Caragher, 6, of Cortland dances to the music of Molly and the Badly Bent Bluegrass Boys in 2018 at Porchfest in Cortland.

For 17 months — 519 mind-numbingly monotonous days — you’ve kept to yourself.

The sourdough you made finally packed itself up and walked out on you to take up with the home-brewed beer. You’ve seen your mother on so many Zoom calls that her decor annoys you and you’re thinking of painting her kitchen because you’ve already painted yours.

You’ve gone past stir crazy, around the bend and deep into a coronavirus-induced haze of bad ’80s sitcoms on Netflix.

This weekend is for you.

It is, we suspect, the busiest weekend since long before the COVID-19 pandemic washed up on the shores of Washington. (Remember that? When there were only five or six cases and we all pitied Wuhan province?)

There’s so much going on in the greater Cortland area that you can’t possibly do it all. In fact, it’ll even be fairly easy to socially distance, because almost all the events are outside. But bring a mask, anyhow. The weather will be in the mid-70s both days, although there’s a chance of showers on Saturday.

So what can you do? Check it out:

National Brockway Truck Show

It’s as much an homage to the manufacturing past of Cortland as it is to the engineering, the history and the aesthetic of the big dog of big trucks.

The 21st Annual Brockway Truck Show will follow all the usual COVID-19 safety protocols. So bring a mask or be vaccinated, maybe both. (The delta variant is kicking around.)

A cruise-in is 6 p.m. this evening at Super Cream on Route 281 in Homer. The Huskie Drive starts at 11 a.m. Friday at the CNY Living History Center on Route 11 in Cortlandville. After that, truck owners from down the block to the far end of the nation will reminisce about the truck that put Cortland on the map.

The annual parade will be 8:30 a.m. Saturday to downtown Cortland, where the trucks will fill Main Street and enthusiasts will trade yarns on everything from what it took to restore them to the wild tales of what people have done with the Mack truck’s big brother.

Bathtub races

We’re not sure what you do in your tub, but in Moravia, they put tubs on wheels and race them at Fillmore Glen State Park.

It’s a Moravia thing, a throwback to the apocryphal tale that one-time president and Moravia native Millard Fillmore introduced the bathtub to the White House. He didn’t, although he did apparently introduce the first permanent library to the White House.

The races, which drew nearly 2,000 people in 2019, are a revived art form that filled downtown Moravia for years, until a mishap led to a crash. It’s not quite the Kentucky Derby with its bourgeois haute couture and fashion-forward hats. Look, instead, for pink tulle tutu skirts, plastic leis and maybe a plunger for a scepter.

Purple Valley opens the event from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday with swing, dance music and country. The races begin at 10 a.m., but Saturday will also see the parade of tubs, a pedal car derby, vendors and family activities. Grassanova, a bluegrass band, will close the event with a performance from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Porchfest

This is how one socially distances together. Never mind sitting cheek-by-jowl with strangers, the venue fills blocks of Van Hoesen, Chestnut and Harrison streets in Cortland on Sunday.

Bands will set up after a noon parade through the neighborhood on porches: 22 bands with 30- to 45-minute sets playing up and down the street until 4 p.m. Expect mementos, information booths, dance routines, a 5K run and maybe a couch in the middle of the street. If the crowd is too close at one porch for your tastes, go on to the next. How neighborly is that?

The music is free, so are the neighbors. But donations will be accepted to fund the Cortland Youth Bureau’s music program and a project at nearby Suggett Park.

Blueberries

Blueberries are a lot easier to pick than strawberries or raspberries. They have no thorns. You don’t have to get on your knees in a field to paw over a strawberry plant. It’s just you, maybe a friend or two, the sun and a row of bushes. It’s evidence that sometimes life really is sweet.

And in this case, sweet helps feed people. The Seven Valleys Health coalition will organize volunteers to glean the field Saturday at Hall’s Hill on Tower Road in Cortlandville, which is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday is the rain date.

The blueberries will be donated to food pantries and other providers.

And if you’re still game after you’ve picked for Seven Valleys, you can pick a bucket for yourself, although you’ll have to pay for that. Still, we’re thinking it’s cobbler time.

Sign up at www.sevenvalleyshealth.org/svfr or call Seven Valleys Health Coalition at 607-756-4198.

St. Anthony’s

No to blueberries? Seriously? Well, how about sausage parm?

St. Anthony’s will offer Festival Curbside Italian Sub Sales 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the St. Anthony’s Church parking lot, at 50 Pomeroy St., Cortland.

It’s probably the most COVID friendly event of the weekend, because the monthly sales are a reminder of the annual St. Anthony’s Festival. Food — always a good reminder.

Cars may line up on Elm Street and turn right onto Pomeroy Street.

Italian sausage parm subs and hot meatball subs will be for sale for $8 each. Cannoli will be the featured dessert for $3 or two for $5.

This is a cash-payment-only, drive-through event, and no walk-ups. No pre-orders, but please note that many of the curbside events sell out quickly.

The Festival Committee plans to bring back its festival, in its traditional way, in June 2022. Proceeds from the curbside events benefit the St. Anthony’s parish and its ministries.

For details, go to saintanthonyofcortland.com.