Saratoga County

Sing for supper at Clifton Park winter festival

Of all the ways to get a free lunch, brother-and-sister James and Laura Johnson never expected it wo

Of all the ways to get a free lunch, brother-and-sister James and Laura Johnson never expected it would come from their performances at the Clifton Park Idol during Saturday’s Winter Festival at the Clifton Park Center.

The Clifton Park pair competed in the teen division of the competition, which was held across from the entrance new the new movie theater, with 16-year-old James finishing runner-up to 17-year-old Laura. Afterward, both were treated to free food at the Grille and Sub after an award ceremony.

Standing on a makeshift stage before an audience of about 60 people and onlookers from the adjacent food court, the Johnsons exchanged a fist bump when it became clear that they were the top two finishers. At that point, Laura knew they would be happy with the finish, saying, “As long as it’s both of us or at least one of us, it’s all good.”

She said it was “interesting” to beat her brother, who she regularly performs with at their church, and predicted that he could always sweep the title away from her next year.

Laura won with two songs she wrote, with her performance consisting of vocals and guitar. “I wrote these this summer, but I’ve been writing songs for about four years,” she said.

The Johnsons will be performing together today at Grace Chapel of Clifton Park. Laura said that when they harmonize it really works because their voices complement each other.

Darryl Gold’s 15-year-old daughter, Jasmine, didn’t make it to the final round, but he still felt like “she knocked it out of the park today.”

As his daughter performed “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent” he was completely captivated and recorded the song on his phone. Shortly thereafter he listened to the performance again and still enjoyed it, saying it gave him a lot of pride when his daughter sang.

The other major highlight of the day was at the Hilton Garden Inn ballroom, hosting the Taste of Clifton Park, where more than 10 local restaurants competed for the honor of “Best Soup.”

The small ballroom was packed shortly after the event started at 2 p.m., with lines circling as empty cups began to pile up quickly at tables in the center.

Sheila Morroni of Clifton Park was very impressed by the gluten free selection, because as someone who suffers from Celiac disease she wouldn’t have been able to participate. “It’s great that I’ve had some options here,” she said. She enjoyed the selections from the Meat House and Angelo’s Prime Bar & Grill.

It wasn’t all fun and games for Morroni, who earlier in the day staffed a table for the Clifton Park–Halfmoon Library. She said they had at least 60 children come by to draw butterflies.

“It’s been a wonderful day here,” Morroni said. “I’m just so happy to have been a part of it.”

Nine-year-old soup connoisseur Savannah Ingram, whose favorite soup is Campbell’s cream of mushroom and eats soup “every day,” enjoyed the singing and got a butterfly painted on her face before trying four or five different soups. She said the soup with pasta was her favorite.

In the future, Ingram, of Clifton Park, said she hopes her mom can duplicate the recipe.

The third place finisher in the soup competition was Angelo’s, second place Ravenswood and the winner was Peddlers Bar & Bistro.

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