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Fort Drum plans Mountainfest, Riverfest despite fiscal restraints

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FORT DRUM — The post announced the schedule Friday for its Mountainfest and Riverfest celebrations this month while outlining some of the financial challenges it faces in hosting the events because of federal budget cuts.

Post officials said they had to limit some employee hours and call on additional sponsorship to keep the events going without major cuts.

The communitywide Mountainfest will be held at 1 p.m. June 26 at Division Hill on the post.

The Riverfest event, primarily for soldiers and their dependents, is scheduled for June 20 in Alexandria Bay.

Garrison Commander Col. Gary A. Rosenberg, in a statement, said continuation of the events despite sequestration concerns was “a testament to the incredible support of our community and corporate sponsors.”

“These sponsors have enabled Fort Drum to recognize the hard work and contributions made by our soldiers, families, civilians and neighbors over the last year.”

Col. Rosenberg’s statement said the events are important this year because of the deployments of the 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat teams and the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade.

“The wellness found in connecting with our loved ones, neighbors and supporters during times of rest and celebration directly contributes to our ability to execute the mission when we are once again called upon,” he said.

On Friday, post spokeswoman Julie A. Cupernall said a major issue for the post was ensuring appropriate staffing at Mountainfest without incurring major overtime costs.

“This year we had to scrutinize every single use of it,” she said.

Ms. Cupernall said the post would limit much of the overtime use for employees in emergency services and electrical work, and rely more on military police instead of civilian workers to provide security.

She said many of the employees working during the Mountainfest event are in nonappropriated fund positions, meaning they are not subject to the militarywide furlough days.

To help run Mountainfest without making any programming cuts, Ms. Cupernall said, the post received additional funding from already signed sponsors and sought new sponsors.

She said she could not comment on specific funding levels from the sponsors because of the terms of their contracts.

Mountainfest will feature military displays, food stands and several game areas. The event will also host the BOSS Custom Car, Motorcycle and Audio Show.

The Salute to the Nation event will start at 5 p.m. with a patriotic rank-and-file display honoring each state and each of the nation’s territories.

The Salute to the Nation will be immediately followed by a concert featuring performances by country singer Craig Morgan, Syracuse-based rock band Scars N’ Stripes and Corey Walts, North Country Idol 6 winner.

Ms. Cupernall said a large portion of the funding for Riverfest came from ticket sales.

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