Every year, the Lake George Arts Project presents a series of fundraising events, including the Black Velvet Art Party, Bands and Beans, Spring Fling and the Summer Sunset Cruise. Each of them features a silent auction, raffles, music by the best regional performers and food – lots of food. The money raised helps pay for keeping the Courthouse Gallery, the Wednesday night Summer Concert series in Shepard Park and the Lake George Jazz Weekend going.
Partnering with Shoreline Cruises, the LGAP’s annual Summer Sunset Cruise began at the dock of the Adirondac, a triple-decker rotary paddleboat. Boarding started at 6:30pm, and the cruise began at 7pm, returning two hours later.
LGAP’s executive director John Strong and gallery director Laura Von Rosk greeted the 250 or so guests as they boarded the first level. Some people headed straight to the bar, while others mingled around the tables sampling the food prepared by area restaurants, including spareribs, crab cakes and a smorgasbord of other delicious dishes.
Up on the second level, at the back of a full-length running table filled with silent-auction goodies, was premier regional singer-songwriter Rich Ortiz.
With the warmest smile you can imagine, this consummate performer mixed catchy pop and rock tunes with his own compositions to the delight of his many, many fans. Watching Ortiz play is a wonder unto itself. The man sings, plays guitar and harmonica, adds a bassline with foot-pedals and manages a percussive beat, too – all at the same time.
And then finally up on the third level of the Adirondac, there was plenty of open space to simply relax and enjoy the fresh air, the sky and sun as the cruise set out for Bolton Landing, turned around at the famed Sagamore and headed back to the dock in Lake George Village.
The Summer Sunset Cruise has become a long-standing Lake George Arts Project tradition. People come from all over to see old friends and have a great time, watching the lake’s shoreline and islands pass by. And when you have sunshine and great weather as there was last Thursday, there’s simply nothing like it.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk