PULASKI – Smoked salmon, barbecued chicken, live music and a professional fish-cleaning competition were among the many colorful activities that highlighted the Fucillo Dodge Salmon River Expo and Salmon River Festival held Oct. 11 and 12 in Pulaski.
Thousands of anglers and their families visited the village over Columbus Day weekend to fish and watch the action on the Salmon River, and local organizations and businesses had plenty of activities and food for all to enjoy.
The festival was coordinated through a committee co-chaired by Oswego County Legislator Shawn Doyle, District 3, Pulaski, and Pulaski Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce president Brian Leary.
It featured a variety of family activities in the South Park on Jefferson Street with children’s games, a petting zoo, bounce house, the Circle “C” Cowboy Chuck Wagon display, crafts, refreshments, wine tasting, hoop dancers, and live music.
Across the street at the Kallet Theater, vendors sold fishing tackle and equipment, T-shirts and hoodies, and locally-produced fresh foods.
New to the festival this year were the fish-cleaning and smoked salmon contests.
Organized by Pat Donnelly, producer of “The Run” reality TV series, and Jen and Capt. Rick Miick of DreamCatcher Charters and Guide Service, the contests featured the area’s best in the business.
Local charter captains and river guides served as judges.
“Fish-cleaning stations were represented from Oswego, Port Ontario, Pulaski, Pineville and Altmar,” said Donnelly. “The best of the best put their knives on the line in front of a vocal and packed house.”
The title of “The Fastest Fish Cleaner” in the county went to Jim Stanski of Larry’s Oswego Salmon Shop, setting up a friendly east-west rivalry and ensuring the growth of the competition.
He landed about a $1,000 in prizes that included a set of KutMaster Fillet Knives.
With the title of the “Best Smoked Salmon in Oswego County” on the line, Rob Mayotte of Junior’s Smokehouse, Port Ontario, swept both the honey/maple and wild card divisions of the Hot Mama Gena’s Salmon Smoke-Off. Junior’s brought home around $1,500 in prizes.
Several local smokehouses competed for the title.
“Local angler Dan Peschler led the Fuccillo Dodge Salmon River Derby right from the get-go,” said Donnelly.
Peschler weighed in a 29.2-pound. giant king salmon early Saturday and it held up through Sunday.
He won more than $3,000 in prizes that included NASCAR Racing Experience, Frogg Toggs, Douglas Outdoor Fly Rod and Reel, Northwoods and Water Taxidermy, Gamma Fishing Line, Livingston Lures, Bootleg Pants and Ashley Lynn Wine.
On Sunday, crowds gathered at Archer’s End Zone Pub to watch local teams and fishermen compete in the third annual chicken “wing-off.”
The residents’ win will be featured on upcoming episodes of “The Run,” along with footage from other activities throughout the weekend.
“We would like to thank the Kallet Theater, all the contestants, river guides, sponsors, and everyone who visited the show,” said Donnelly. “It was a very busy weekend and we appreciate everyone’s support.”
The Fucillo Dodge Salmon River Expo was sponsored by Nascar Racing Experience, Frogg Toggs, KutMaster Knives, Gamma Fishing Line, Hot Mama Gena’s, Douglas Outdoors, Northwoods & Water Taxidermy, The Toy Store, Livingston Lures, Bootleg Pants, Buttercup Cheese, Ashley Lynn Winery, HealthWay, Oswego County Tourism, Juniors, Action Trackchair, The Kallet Theater, Adirondack Beverage, Woodbine Group and Fuccillo Dodge.
The festival committee is now back at work; planning the Eastern Oswego County Winter Carnival scheduled for February 6 through 8, 2015.
The annual event will return to the village of Pulaski and feature food, music and entertainment along with a variety of indoor activities and outdoor fun for all ages.
Find the latest news, details and updates about the winter festival on Facebook at www.facebook.com/oswegocountywintercarnival. For more information on “The Run,” visit www.teamemedia.com/index.html
To find other great events in Oswego County, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com