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Rain can’t dampen 350th anniversary kick-off

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

Committee members, left to right, Joan Radley, Karen Waddingham, Patti LeFevre and Town Clerk Candace McHugh show off commemorative T-shirts celebrating the town’s 350th anniversary. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

COEYMANS — The weekend’s 350th anniversary celebration got off to a wet start with rain Friday night at Joralemon Park, but it couldn’t dampen the festivities as hundreds turned out to celebrate their town.

Residents gathered under tents and in the sheltered picnic area to mark the 350th anniversary of the Coeymans Patent, which dates back to 1673, when Gov. Francis Lovelace granted the Patent that would lead to the later establishment of the town. The Patent designated a sprawling tract of land that reached from the border of the town of Bethlehem to the Coxsackie Creek, and as far west as where Westerlo now stands.

Town officials and a committee of volunteers have spent the last year organizing a series of festivities, including this weekend’s celebrations at Joralemon Park on Friday and then the parade from Main Street in the village, marching down to Coeymans Landing, where more festivities await.

“It’s been a lot of work organizing this — hundreds if not thousands of hours,” said town councilwoman and committee member Marisa Tutay. “We have around 18 members on a committee putting thousands of hours into this.”

The rain Friday night delayed the festivities a brief time as organizers waited for skies to clear, but then the event was kicked off with a prayer by Lay Minister Melanie Collins from Trinity United Methodist Church and the singing of the national anthem by students in the music department at Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District.

“The story of our town is filled with growth, unity, diversity, perseverance and compassion, all blessings from [God],” Collins said in the opening prayer.

Vendors were lined up throughout Joralemon Park and the band Skeeter Creek performed from the stage. Local brewer Rail II River hosted an adults-only beer tasting. Despite the rain, hundreds turned out for the event.

“They’ve done a nice job getting the tent and the stage and comfortable picnic tables,” said resident Daniel Boomer, wearing a festive homemade 350thanniversary hat adorned in red, white and blue. “It’s really nice.”

Resident Daniel Boomer is all decked out in a homemade 350th anniversary hat. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Committee members sold commemorative T-shirts at the event, at $15 each.

“The proceeds will pay for this event and any future events we have,” said town clerk and committee member Candace McHugh. “We were fortunate enough to have some leftover money from Riverfest last year to help fund this, so we are hoping to raise a little more so if we have another Riverfest, we can use this money for that.”

Tutay said the committee worked hard on organizing all of the 350th anniversary events. She co-chaired the committee with Deputy Town Supervisor Brandon LeFevre.

“If it wasn’t for all the people standing behind us, especially Candace McHugh, who did a tremendous amount of work, we wouldn’t be here today,” Tutay said.

“Our town is all about the people — they are our most valued resource — and this gives them an opportunity to come out and celebrate,” Tutay added.

Town Supervisor George McHugh said the weekend’s festivities were off to a great start.

“The weather didn’t cooperate completely tonight but we certainly need the rain and I don’t think it’s so bad. We have a great crowd, great vendors, the band is setting up and it’s going to be a wonderful time,” McHugh said. “I am really excited about tonight, kicking off the 350th anniversary of Coeymans, and tomorrow is going to be even better.”

People line up at one of the vendors at the weekend’s opening festivities at Joralemon Park. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media
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