Around Town: Community Events of Interest and Where to Find Them

Norwood Brass

By Maggie McKenna, Adult Program Coordinator @ PPL

Potsdam is my home, but it hasn’t always been. I’ve decided to make my way here with my family and personally feel like I’ve found a diamond in the rough in this quirky little place. I grew up near New  York City where one might think there were always far too many events from which to choose. I don’t remember ever being all that busy with community events as a kid, mainly because I don’t think my community was as connected as we are here.

I often hear from others that their favorite thing about this area is the people. I couldn’t agree more. Some studies show that people in smaller, rural communities are happier than those who live in big cities, and I can totally see why. On the other hand, one of the worst things I hear about this place is that there’s nothing to do, there’s nothing going on. Because of this sentiment, I feel like I’ve made it my life’s work to dispel that idea, whether or not it’s a myth, by creating some event opportunities for my community. That’s why I work at the Potsdam Public Library as a program coordinator and have created a concert series in downtown Potsdam (that’s the Ives Park Concert Series).

Well, I’m calling this a myth because there actually are lots of things going on around here if you’re willing to look for it, though sometimes this may feel more like a hunt! It’s very difficult to find information here when you’re new to town, and everyone knows it, but we haven’t cracked the code on this one yet. I guess you could say I’m working on it.

Disclaimer: I’m going to run through a bunch of lists, please don’t be offended if your organization isn’t on here as none of these are exhaustive, but I hope this might help you consider your marketing strategy.

Here are some of the best ways to find out about events happening:

  1. Posters - believe it or not, lots of people find out about what’s going on from posters around town. Not all businesses let you put them up, but many organizations have seen pretty good outcomes from putting up visually appealing posters about their events. You can find many posters up in the lobby of the Potsdam Public Library, at the Potsdam Food Co-op, at Jernabi Coffeehouse, by the cafeteria in Canton-Potsdam Hospital, and in windows of many downtown businesses. Keep your eyes open and take a quick phone picture of a poster when you see it because you might not see anything else about that event anywhere else!

  2. - I find out about a lot of events on NCN because they generally publish all the press releases that get sent to them on their 7-day calendar and/or as an article. You can also read North Country This Week (printed weekly edition), but it’s possible that some things are missing from there, so I prefer their website. You’ll also see info from more of the county online.

  3. North Country Public Radio calendar - Many organizations publish their events on the NCPR calendar, but they have to do each and every one of them separately, so you won’t see everything there, but it is a good place to look.

  4. Radio - Listen to the local radio stations - you can also use an app or stream on their websites. NCPR mentions lots of local events on the air, B993 has Jody Tosti’s Community Connection which is only about hyper-local news and events, and Clarkson and SUNY Potsdam also have student-run radio stations, and of course there are many more stations.

  5. Facebook - If you’re not on Facebook, you should really consider checking it out if only for the events. I find out about many events on Facebook, but most importantly I’m reminded of events by Facebook from weekly event summary notifications. Of course, you won’t find everything there, but it’s another good spot. You can also join groups with other people with similar interests. There are a bunch of local ones like Canton Potsdam 2020, North Country Makers Meetup, and lots of other really great ones for businesses, moms, musicians, artists, homeschoolers, politics, etc.

  6. Chambers of Commerce - Both the St Lawrence County Chamber and the Potsdam Chamber have lots of this information, and I find that the easiest way to find out about events is from their email newsletters. Sign up for those.

  7. Organizations’ email newsletters - Similarly, whenever you find out about a cool organization that you’re interested in, make sure you get on their email newsletter. Most don’t send out a ton of emails, but when they do they pack them full of all the cool things they have going on. I get far too many emails, but I do try to take a look and hold onto them for a bit. I get emails from (not exhaustive):

    • Potsdam Public Library

    • North Country Children’s Museum

    • TAUNY (in Canton)

    • The Wild Center

    • SLC Arts Council

    • Potsdam Central School

    • Potsdam Food Co-op

    • Local Living Venture

    • Trillium Yoga Center

    • Cornell Cooperative Extension of St Lawrence County

    • What a Raquette Music & Dance (but that’s my one for the concert series)

  8. Organizations’ websites - not all of your favorite organizations have email newsletters, so look at their websites or just walk in to the establishment to find out about upcoming events. Again, they may have their events on other calendars, on Facebook, or posted on bulletin boards, so keep your eyes open. I’m thinking Potsdam Humane Society and Orchestra of Northern New York (did you know we had a professional orchestra in our area?)

  9. School calendars - Clarkson, SUNY Potsdam, SLU and SUNY Canton and the public schools generally have calendars of events on their websites. Some of them are more updated than others, but you can take a look. If you’re looking for musical performances, check out the Crane School of Music and Community Performance Series calendars.

  10. Friends and neighbors - I started off talking about how great the people around here are and I can’t leave them off this list. Make sure you get out and meet people, and if you’re not all that outgoing, then maybe try writing a note to stick on their door. Go to meetings of organizations you’re interested in or go over to Maxfield’s Friday Happy Hour to meet some people over a cold beverage. If you make connections with your neighbors and let them know who you are and what you’re interested in, they might invite you to things they think you’ll enjoy.

Here are some fun events that you should consider going to over the summer. This isn’t everything, but it’s a start:

  1. Potsdam Summerfest: July 12-14, 2018

  2. Mare’s Wares Arts Fest (Morristown): always July 1

  3. Birdsfoot Garlic Festival: mid July, date not posted, but you might see it on NCN

  4. Martin’s Farmstand - Strawberry U-Pick and other similar fruit/veg picking events - look on Facebook for these

  5. July 4th Fireworks: consult NCN closer to the date

  6. Anything in Ottawa - don’t forget we’re only 1.5 hours away from Canada’s capital - the Tulip festival runs through May 20-ish, and there’s also a PoutineFest, Jazz Festivals, National Art Center Orchestra and lots of other fun things to do. (We’re also only about 2-3 hours from Montreal, Burlington and Syracuse)

Lastly, I love music, so I like to look at the concert series calendars. Here’s a list of some of the local concert series over the summer, and some of them are harder to find than others - try Googling them as we get further into the summer:

  1. Norwood Village Green Concert Series: June - August

  2. Ives Park Concert Series: August - September

  3. Madrid Dam Concert Series

  4. Waddington Concert Series

  5. Colton Concert Series

Leave a comment if you have any other ideas or feel free to email me at

Good luck getting out there, and have fun!