Stay Local and Support Upstateís Economy

Legislative Column by Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R,C-Melrose)
July 17, 2012

Recent years have presented tough economic challenges to many families in the Capital District. While an extensive summer vacation may not be financially realistic, there are many local events that offer entertainment and fun for all ages. Staying close to home and taking advantage of these local attractions is easy and can benefit local business, helping continue the revitalization of our local economy.

Many of our local communities have long traditions of hosting county fairs with exhibits, competitions, great food, music, games and amusement rides. The Columbia County Fair in Chatham is one of the oldest-running fairs in the country. The fair features free shows and attractions, live bands, a rodeo and animal shows, among many other attractions. The Washington County Fair has existed for over a century, bringing people together from all over the region to celebrate the areaís agriculture heritage. In addition, this year is the 193rd Schaghitcoke Fair, which will again showcase locally-grown produce, baked goods, and homemade crafts, reminding us to take pride in our upstate farms and rural communities. With the variety of activities offered at these local fairs, everyone can find something to enjoy.

Many towns also offer weekly summer concerts in their local parks or town squares. Local bands are often featured, providing hours of free, live music that gives the community a chance to take advantage of the summer weather. I recently attended the opening night of the Summer Concert Series at the Schaghitcoke Town Park, which had a great turnout that showcased the community spirit. The Town of Schodack offers a similar event with live performances taking place every Tuesday night from 6:00-8:00 p.m. These summer concerts are a great way to meet your neighbors and discover great local music right here in our own backyard.

Local farmers markets are another great summer event in our communities, providing a chance to sample the freshest fruits and vegetables our local farmers have to offer while speaking with the hardworking men and women that grow them. The Brunswick Farmerís Market, which also runs weekly with their summer concert series, is a great source of fresh food from local family farms. Farmers markets arenít just an enjoyable way to spend a few hours; they provide a direct line to supporting the small, family businesses that are the backbone of our economy in upstate communities.

As the representative of the 108th Assembly District, which includes parts of Rensselaer, Albany, Columbia and Greene counties, one of the best parts of my job is to travel across the district to attend and participate in a wide range of different community events. During the summer months especially, I appreciate all that the Capital District and Hudson Valley have to offer. This is a great time of year when our local communities and businesses put their best on display. So this year, forget about cramming the family into the car and sinking your budget into overpriced tanks of gas in search of summer fun in the Northeast. We need go no farther than our own backyards to find adventures worth exploring, businesses worth supporting and communities worth connecting with. I wish all a safe, happy and fun summer!

Are you involved with or do you know of any local and summertime events that our office could help spread the word about? Email me: