By Dave Warner

Despite the gloomy weather, thousands turned out for the eighth annual Little Falls Cheese Festival, New York State’s Premier Gathering of Cheesemakers. ‘Team Cheese’ committee members Teri Chace, David Dardzinski, Laura Eysaman, Suzie Jones, Scot Nolan, Shari Purcell, and Jayne Ritz outdid themselves.

The day started out with the Cheesy 5K run. Willow Running USA and the Rock City Runners (Little Falls) partnered with Main Street First to offer the race, which began one hour before the festival’s opening. The entire 5K course was run on a scenic portion of the Empire Trail.

Jeff Winders, with Will Running, stated, “We run several races throughout Upstate New York, from Rochester down to Binghamton. This is probably as far as we get east. We do a lot of ugly sweater races all over the place. Our biggest race is in Old Forge, which we had a few weeks ago.”

“We try to make it fun for people,” he said. “You do all that running and work to get here, and when you run, it’s supposed to be fun, and we try to make that happen as best we can.”

Suzie Jones, with Jones Family Farm, stated, “We’re very happy. The buyers came. People who wanted to taste cheese and buy cheese were there, so that was nice.”

Teri Chace of Team Cheese said, “I spent the day checking in on vendors and eavesdropping on attendees. I will not lie; I was nervous. I wanted it to be profitable for these small producers and farmers, and I wanted it to be fun for the attendees. One woman summed it all up and made my heart sing. Laden down with two heavy bags of cheese, wine, nuts, salsa, and chocolate milk, she stood in the rain-damp road and exclaimed, ‘I’m cold! I’m wet! But I’m SO happy!'”

Some of the comments from Facebook told the story:

Shaw’s Maple Products – Thank you to everyone involved. All of your planning and hours spent beforehand to pull off an event like this is truly remarkable! Rain or not, people still came! You are all amazing!

Adirondack Cheese Company – Despite the weather, Cheese lovers came out to enjoy the day. Thank you to the Festival organizers for, once again, a well-planned and promoted event.

Prospect Falls Winery – Rain or shine, a great, very well-organized event. Thank you to everyone that came out.

Tifany Hudy – We had a great time as first-time attendees. So glad we braved the rain and enjoyed some delicious cheese & met some like-minded people.

B’s Cheese – B’s Cheese had a blast!! Even though it rained, the customers were happy and friendly! Thank you, Little Falls Cheese Festival. Everyone smiled and said cheese.