Flashback to Summer Daze in Washington County

Nikia Foster for The12866.com

The gangs all here! Ready for Halloween perhaps, but this is summer in Washington County!

HARTFORD – Here it is, an early fall morning, in mid-October, 2022, and I’m still smiling as I reflect on the summer moments I had in the Capital Region, and what memory comes most to mind is the last one. And boy, let me tell you, I wrapped summer up with a bang… or shall I say, my summer ended with a night full of wondrous musical talent, and some “B’s” from Rochester that knew how to ‘sang’!!!! 

I was invited to take on a project, already very well thought out, and the woman who brought me on board was an amazing down to earth being (but who I never had the pleasure to meet in person.) So I want to say THANK YOU MANDY BAKER. You changed my life so much that I’m still sitting at the dinner table gabbing about the one time I ended my summer by bringing a drag show to the middle of Hartford, NY!

Talk about a doozie. Or a Floozie. No, Definitely not that. These Ladies had SASS,and CLASS, they made me laugh so hard, i forgot my past! And that’s exactly what we all needed. After coming back to somewhat normal from the limitations we all had with Covid 19 the past few years, it was a pleasure to get back out into the field, (no pun intended) and create excitement and madness so eloquently. Oh, the entertainment industry… how i missed you so! 

“The Hartford House” in Hartford NY ran a series of events on the property in conjunction with the annual South Hartford Church’s Fall Festival. I’ll take a bet, or put up my pink slip, that there is still conversation at the dinner table, or knitting club, about this series of events. And here is why: South Hartford has never been busier than that day. Ever.

The Square Nail Rustics Crew

The owner of “The Hartford House”, Eric Mattison, also owns Square Nail Rustics, which is now located in South Glens Falls, in which he had his homegrown neighborly crew, Jason King, Don Donnelly, Jason Konis, Arthur (The friendly Mason) and Gilbert Gozman design and create a metropolitan bistro/performance venue outside on his property that was able to seat over 600 people. Cheyenne Dickinson, the bracket that holds Square Nail Rustics together was onsite during setup ensuring the Farmhouse flooring and wood productions were on point. Or plank, rather, while they constructed a one-of-a-kind original performance stage, Faster than the needle on the record could spin!

Ta-Da! The Stage!

There is so much history hidden in the hills of Hartford, that Eric Mattison couldn’t resist shedding some light on what “The Hartford House” once was, and is now, and how he did it. He has a very heavy following on his Social Media Page “You know you’re from Glens Falls If…”  and so he created heavy foot traffic up and down his two story estate, and the community couldn’t have been happier to enjoy his homestead with him for the entire day!

Pam Armstrong greeted most house guests as a representative for Coldwell Banker, and she will forever have a special place in my heart for being so kind, and warmhearted. Eric’s vision for the all-day event was to bring the community together, all the while having them enjoy a self-guided tour of the inside of his private home, and to have the opportunity to view never before seen historical collections including artifacts and memorabilia of the surrounding cities, such as Glens Falls, South Glens Falls, Hudson Falls, and the major factories and warehouses and lifestyles the cities once thrived on.

The Hartford Historical Society was onsite for fact-based conversations of South Hartford, The Hartford House Historical Collection, and the common and surrounding grounds of the upstate 518 area. The Historical Home Tour was also led by Julie Dowd and Gizella Martinez, who was dressed to impress and sang a Stephen Foster Program while she was accompanied by a baby grand piano, wistfully played by Catherine Reid. Any and all donations received buy The Hartford House were presented to The Hartford Historical Society.


Sherwin Williams of Queensbury sponsored all of the paint and supplies to have The South Hartford Church repainted. To mention that Square Nail Rustics Crew again is an absolute must, and very deserving. “ The Boys:” Jason King, Don Donnelly, Art the Mason, and Gilbert Gozman designed an absolute one-of-a-kind rustic farm table, to raffle off during the day’s events in order to raise funds towards the labor costs of The South Hartford Church’s restoration project – to ensure it comes back to its natural and original state. The church has been accepting bids for the job to be completed before the first snowflake flies, and I’m sure the community of Hartford who happened to attend the event helped speed the process along rather quickly.

On the day of the event, the crew also performed a demo on the Do-It-Yourself Installations of the Farmhouse Flooring for the public.

Cooper’s Cave Automobile Club Rolled into Hartford with cars, of course, but also Nathan Pittorf, an Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly impersonator.

While all this was happening, Richard Vance and his Horse Drawn Carriage circled the area and offered rides for families and friends to get back to their cars after partaking in the day’s array of events.

I think it’s safe to say: to have History come to life, in the middle of Hartford is something we will never forget.

The boots started to scoot and the crowds started filing in with Mike Lapointe and Pulson Country on stage, while the sun was starting to set.

Fire Rock Catering kept the martinis and vodka seltzers flowing, just as the mini table lamps began to glow. 

The Vendor Market was nice, and busy! A lot of community members enjoyed their presence, and had a blast talking with them about their endeavors.

Eric Mattison, “The Hartford House”, Square Nail Rustics and Associates, and MH Concierge and More, changed history, not by repeating it, but by tweaking it, and inviting the three most beautiful divas I have ever had the pleasure to meet, Perform a Drag Queen Show in the middle of the desolate hills, which has one stop sign, and has barely any recognition of what the town really has to offer. “Heart, History, Hope, Community, and Togetherness”, is what i walked away with.  I feel that these ladies were well “put together,” –  Beautiful, Respectfully Bodacious and full of what life should be all about – FUN, and CONFIDENCE. Samantha, Kyla, and Vanessa out of Rochester, New York stole the show, and deserve a warm “Hey Girl, Hey! With three snaps in a z formation.”

This Drag Show was Raunchy, Sexy, and was beautifully mastered by behind the scenes musical genius Bruce Finnegan and sound technicians out of Montreal, Toni and Mario’s DJ service. 

She ain’t no drag;
Mama’s got a brand new bag! And 3 Snaps in a Z formation!

Being the last performance, the crowd left laughing, smiling, and almost everyone asked on the way out if this could be an annual event. How about it Eric? Your Facebook followers are still trending and your page is a top thread. Kudos to your mastermind of ideas. It was an EPIC event. And we all thank you for allowing us to partake in your vision. Cheers to changing history within itself! This night of networking, Music, and Performance was exactly what the crowd needed after 3 long years of delays, closings, and restrictions due to Covid 19 – the protocols and damper on personal lives that came with it. The Evening at the Hartford House was a good reminder to get out there, and LIVE. Live your life how you want to live it, and if it involves buying antiques, keeping it country by supporting local businesses and attending vendor markets, possibly even to buy a tiny cabin to be happy, so be it! 

Nikia Foster is an occasional contributor to The12866. She is  a mom, a concierge to many, an advocate, and all-around lover of all things in the 518.

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