UTICA — The sun was shining, the clouds as fluffy as giant pillows and smiles dotted the faces of everyone in the F.X. Matt Brewing Co.'s outdoor beer garden for the final Saranac Thursdays of the summer.
But Joslyn Arena’s smile shone especially bright as she sipped her beer and laughed with friends.
It may have been the final Saranac Thursdays of the summer, but it was only Arena’s fourth because she spent most of June and July battling breast cancer.
On Aug. 22, though, she received the all-clear and has been enjoying everything about life since.
“I am just so grateful to be alive,” the 48-year-old said. “I’m feeling good — I love life now. … I find good in everything, there’s good in everything — the sun, the clouds, the rain.”
Arena’s husband, Randy Arena, is the one who found the lump that turned out to be cancer.
And now he says he’s just enjoying every moment with her, going with the flow and doing whatever makes his wife happy.
The Arenas were only one of the many people enjoying the perfect weather for the final hurrah of the season, which gift shop and tour center Manager Devon Hoffman said has been pretty spot on all summer.
The weather cooperating made for a good showing at the event every week, but Hoffman said it probably also helped that there was a decent lineup of talent that included both new and old favorites.
There also was a larger variety of beers offered, Hoffman said. Generally there are somewhere around 10, but this year there were 16 offered throughout the whole summer.
“There was kind of a few things different as far as entertainment was concerned, but also as far as the beer was concerned, which all kind of added up — when you add the weather in — to a recipe for greatness,” he said.
Joslyn Arena said she loves the whole atmosphere of Saranac Thursdays because she gets to be out and see people and enjoy the weather and have a beer.
“It’s a great place to come to see people and meet people,” she said. “It’s just a great meeting place for old and new friends, it really is.”
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