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Adams gets cheesy at fourth annual festival

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ADAMS — Jerry S. Merrill prefers sculpting snow, but once a year, he carves a 40-pound block of cheese.

The Rodman resident’s work was just one of the attractions Saturday at the Adams Revitalization Committee’s fourth annual Cheddar Cheese Festival, a gathering centered in the area of North Main Street and East Church Street.

The day celebrates the Great Lakes Cheese plant at 23 Phelps St., which supplies a plethora of jobs to the area.

Mr. Merrill, who has created ice and snow sculptures for international competitions, said he’s been carving a block of cheese every year since the festival began. This year, he used clay-carving tools to fashion a mouse kissing a dog named Bubba from a $120 block of soft Great Lakes cheddar.

“I was asked because I live close by,” Mr. Merrill said. “People come by and get a kick out of it.”

Mr. Merrill said cheese sculpting takes some experimenting; if he takes longer than a couple of hours on a sculpture, the cheese dries out and begins to crumble as he carves it.

The annual ode to cheddar gets bigger every year, said Connie A. Elliott, festival co-chairwoman. Ms. Elliott said she decided to organize the event four years ago to thank the cheese plant for staying in the area.

The day includes a macaroni and cheese competition. This year’s contest winner was Jessica Hyde, who created a dish featuring local cheeses and bacon.

Ms. Elliott said she missed the competition because she spent all morning in the children’s area, where kids could get a free ice cream cone, see a demonstration of owls and hawks or play in a bounce house.

“It’s about pride for the community,” Ms. Elliott said. “It’s family-oriented.”

That’s the reason Kristen M. Dawley, Adams, came to the festival on Saturday with her young children.

“I’ve been coming since it started,” she said. “They love going to the bounce houses. I like it because I love the craft stuff.”

Patricia J. Leviker, Lowville, brought her daughter and granddaughter to the festival this year. She, too, has come every year.

“We went to the wine tasting and saw lots of people,” she said. “It’s kind of neat here.”

Daughter Carol A. Hughes, Watertown, said she was a fan of the theme of the day. “The cheese kind of draws you in,” she said.

To see a video of the Adams Cheddar Cheese Festival, go to http://wdt.me/upBuQV.




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