Event has deep roots in village tradition
By Kevin E. Foley
Community Day 2012, the fourth in a recent series of annual July 4 celebrations, is set to take place this coming Wednesday. The event, however, does have deeper than recent roots within Cold Spring tradition. Begun anew in 2009 as an initiative of then Mayor Anthony Phillips, Community Days go back in time to the 1960s and ’70s as events that brought people together for fun and games and fireworks and just sharing some relaxed good times.
“I remember putting together Community Days when I was a member of the Philipstown Jaycees,” said Cold Spring Deputy Mayor Bruce Campbell, once again charged with organizing duties. “We had a huge parade in ’76,” he recalled about the national bicentennial year. Campbell speculated that the event declined in part because the same people were responsible for putting it together. “People burn out,” he said a little ruefully, underscoring the need for more people to be involved in the planning and execution.
Beginning at 3 p.m., when this year’s parade steps off on Chestnut Street (perhaps fittingly in front of the controversial Butterfield Hospital property), the seven-hour program includes something for just about everybody who enjoys spending time amidst the people they share life with in Philipstown.
While a Cold Spring Village-sponsored event, Campbell emphasized in an interview that all of Philipstown and visitors as well are welcome. He said that Rep. Nan Hayworth, County Executive Mary Ellen Odell and Town Supervisor Richard Shea are among the officials expected to make an appearance during the course of the day.
All four town fire companies, Cold Spring Fire Company No. 1, Garrison Volunteer Fire Co., North Highlands Fire Co. and Continental Village Fire Co., are said by Campbell to be on board for the parade. The local ambulance corps are expected as well. No doubt the Cold Spring Police Dept. and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Dept. will be represented as well.
The Hudson Highlands Pipe Band will provide the traditional beat and sound for the parade in celebration of the nation’s Declaration of Independence from the rule of the British Crown. Representatives of the Veterans of Foreign Wars will ride in open vehicles signifying and reminding us of freedom’s price.
Adding to the festive atmosphere of the parade will be participants in the patriotic-themed Decorate Your Bike contest. Following the parade, a reading of the Declaration will take place at the bandstand on the Dock.
Cold Spring Mayor Seth Gallagher will make some welcoming remarks before honoring long-time resident and long-serving town historian Donald McDonald for his service to the community.
Emphasis on Children
Campbell said that the post-parade events emphasized things to do for children. Aside from the bike-decorating contest (judged by public officials) a water slide, airbrush tattoos and roaming railroad rides are also planned. “And we will have some surprise games and other activities for kids,” said Campbell.
Music will also be a big part of the afternoon/evening program with five bands scheduled to play on the temporary stage in Dockside Park.
Both commercial and nonprofit vendors will offer an array of refreshments at reasonable prices. “We try hard to balance all the interests, help the local merchants, support the different groups and try to stay within the budget as well,” said Campbell.
At 9 p.m. the day’s activities will culminate in a fireworks display with musical accompaniment. This year the fireworks are sponsored by this newspaper and its companion website.