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Friendship Festival fundraiser kicks off summer


By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

A fundraiser at the Mosher Park Pool supported the annual Friendship Festival, which will be held in August. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

RAVENA — If temperatures in the 90s weren’t enough, you can be certain it’s officially summer when the Mosher Park Pool gears up.

The pool opened June 24 and hosted a fundraiser for the annual Friendship Festival with the summer kick-off pool party July 1.

The concept for the pool party Friday evening was developed by Village Trustee Caitlin Appleby and resident Tina Hotaling, who is also a member of the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Board of Education.

The party was the kick-off of the summer season but served multiple purposes — also raising funds for the annual Friendship Festival in August and picking out a winning design for the festival’s official T-shirt. Seventeen local children submitted designs for the T-shirt contest and the winner was picked Friday evening.

“This was a brainchild between myself and Tina Hotaling,” Appleby said. “We had wanted to get the kids involved more with the Friendship Festival this year. I had the idea for the T-shirt contest and she had the idea for the pool party, so we decided, why don’t we just marry these two ideas and have a great community event.”

The winning design was created by Jacquelyn Cordero, a rising seventh grader at RCS Middle School.

The official T-shirt for the Friendship Festival will feature Jacquelyn’s design and will be sold at the festival.

“It’s all about making people want to be a part of things and drumming up interest for the festival and getting the word out,” Appleby said of the fundraiser and contest. “There are a lot of new people here today that have never been to the festival, so we wanted to expose our new residents of Ravena to the festival. There are also people here from Coxsackie, Coeymans, Selkirk — a plethora of people.”

This was the first time festival organizers hosted a pool party fundraiser or held a T-shirt design contest, and the results were gratifying, Appleby said.

“This is the first time we have done this,” she said. “We are trying it out and so far, I have been getting positive reinforcement so we might do this as an annual thing.”

An underwater handstand contest during Friday night’s festivities. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Hotaling said it was a great way to start the summer season and get people in the community involved.

“We always wanted to do something to kick off the summer and we are pairing it with a T-shirt contest so the kids got involved by doing their own drawings,” Hotaling said.

“The Fourth of July weekend seemed like a great time to do this — we didn’t even have any idea it was going to be 95 degrees today,” she said with a laugh.

Partygoers could pay an optional $5 donation, with all the proceeds going to support the Friendship Festival, which will be held Aug. 27 at Mosher Park. The fundraiser generated enough donations to pay the cost of a face painter during the festival, Appleby said after the event.

Village Trustee Linda Muller said the party was a great way to help support the festival.

“Caitlin put together this wonderful event and we are excited about having the donations go to our festival,” Muller said. “It is a great use of a local community resource. We love bringing everyone here to the village pool.”

Kids frolicking in the pool on a 95-degree day Friday. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Pool Director Darlene Mergendahl said the pool opened June 24 and will remain open until the Friday before Labor Day. So far, about 300 people have gotten pool passes, which are free for village residents. Individuals who live outside the village pay a fee.

“Everyone gets a pool pass, whether they purchased a pass or they are a village resident and they have a pass,” Mergendahl said. “Right now, we have about 300 members so far this year and it is just the first week we have been open.”

People who live anywhere in the RCS school district, including Coeymans, Coeymans Hollow, New Baltimore, Selkirk and Hannacroix, along with Coxsackie, may purchase a pool pass. The cost for an individual is $50, two people pay $100, and a family of three or more pays $125, Mergendahl said.

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