Traditions continue at riverfront

By Michael Turton

Bruce Campbell is putting the finishing touches on Cold Spring’s 2014 Independence Day celebrations. It’s not the first time he’s coordinated what is one of the village’s most popular and appreciated annual events. “This is the sixth time that I’ve handled it in recent years,” the veteran village trustee told The Paper. Campbell also put together local Fourth of July ceremonies and entertainment several times in the 1970s and 1980s, then as a member of the local Junior Chamber of Commerce, better known as the Jaycees. “It was called Community Day back then and the Jaycees organized it for many years before I got involved.”

In bygone years

Few things speak of American tradition more than the Fourth of July and perhaps for that reason Campbell said the event hasn’t changed all that much since his days with the now-defunct Jaycees. Back then, Cold Spring didn’t have its own fireworks display. Instead residents watched as pyrotechnics based at West Point lit up the night sky. And in those days, Cold Spring Fire Company No. 1 set up gambling booths near the riverfront bandstand. One Independence Day activity that has gone by the wayside brought a smile to Campbell’s face as he remembered it — the greased flag pole climb.

“We’d put a $20 bill on top of the flag pole. That was quite a bit of money back then,” he recalled. “Then we’d grease the pole and let people try to climb to the top to claim the cash prize.” People had “all kinds of different strategies — and some did make it to the top,” he said. Campbell recounts that he tried the slippery climb himself. “But I don’t remember getting too far up the pole,” he laughed.

Parade, inflatable amusement park, live music

All this year’s festivities will be held on the actual date of the holiday since the Fourth of July falls on a Friday. Most activities will be centered near the bandstand.

Cold Spring’s love affair with parades continues with the Independence Day procession stepping off at 3 p.m. at Tots Park on Haldane Street. Area veterans will lead the way. The cavalcade will conclude at the bandstand where ceremonies will honor local veterans, with special recognition of those who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, who will receive a certificate honoring their service.

Judging for the annual bike decorating contest will take place right after the opening ceremonies and Ten Brooks Molly, a traditional country and rockabilly band, will perform at the bandstand from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Cold Spring Lions Cub will serve up cold beer while the Haldane Football Association will offer soda and water. The Knights of Columbus will add sausage and peppers to the menu. Other vendors will feature cotton candy, popcorn and snow cones and Go-Go Pops will also be on hand. Campbell is still seeking a group to provide hamburgers and hotdogs. Kids will again be able to enjoy the “inflatable amusement park” that will be set up near the river.

Attention shifts to Dockside Park at 7 p.m. when Over the Top takes the stage. The Westchester-based cover band is known for motivating large numbers of people to get up and dance. One reviewer on the band’s website commented that the six-member group covers everything “from Lady Gaga to Tom Jones.”

Sponsors make it all possible

Cold Spring Trustee Cathryn Fadde, coordinator of this year’s holiday music program, praised sponsors for making appearances by the two bands possible. Mid-Hudson Concrete Products is the major 2014 music sponsor with generous contributions also from the Cold Spring General Store, Putnam County Tourism and Paper. Fadde said that a total of 38 Cold Spring businesses made donations to this year’s musical entertainment, in what can only be described as true community spirit.

As darkness descends and the music and dancing die down just after 9 p.m., it will be time for the annual fireworks display. This year’s oohs and aahs will be sponsored by the Putnam County News and Recorder. Necks will crane even more than usual as West Point and the Town of Cornwall will also hold fireworks that night.

Campbell said that if fireworks have to be canceled due to bad weather, they will be rescheduled for Saturday, Aug. 30, as part of Labor Day weekend.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Turton, who has been a reporter for The Current since its founding in 2010, moved to Philipstown from his native Ontario in 1998. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Cold Spring government, features