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Town to mark once-in-a-lifetime milestone

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350th anniversary festivities gearing up with parade, concerts and more

By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

COEYMANS — It’s something you will never see again in this lifetime — the town is gearing up to mark its 350th anniversary.

A committee has been working for months to schedule a series of events throughout the year, starting with the beer trail that launched earlier this year and the Cinco de Mayo comedy show at Sycamore Country Club this month.

But the biggest events are still coming up, including a pair of concerts, first at Joralemon Park on June 9 and then Coeymans Landing on June 10.

And a huge parade is scheduled that Saturday to bring the community together and celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime 350th milestone.

Joseph Boehlke, president of the Ravena Coeymans Historical Society and a member of the committee, said the event marks the anniversary of the granting of the Coeymans Patent by Gov. Francis Lovelace on April 7, 1673.

“That was when Barent Koijemans received the grant for the Coeymans Patent,” Boehlke said. “It is not the founding of the town — the town was incorporated later — but it commemorates the Coeymans Patent, which was a huge piece of land that extended from the Bethlehem border down south to Coxsackie Creek, near Red’s (restaurant), and it went west to where Westerlo is today, so it was a big tract of land.”

Town Councilwoman Marisa Tutay is a member of the committee and recalls the last time the town celebrated a major historical milestone – the 300th anniversary back in 1973.

“I was four (years old) but it is vivid in my mind because it was such a big event,” Tutay said. “I remember that every man had to grow a beard — if you didn’t grow a beard, you got a fine. My dad and his cousins all grew beards. I remember the wax he would use on the beard.”

Tutay recalled that she, her mother and brother all wore old-fashioned garb reminiscent of historical times.

“One of my most vivid memories is that my mom was expecting my sister, who is four years younger than I am. She and I wore long gingham dresses with aprons and bonnets, and my brother was in knickers and a tri-corn hat,” Tutay said. “My mom made it all — she was a great seamstress.”

The 350th anniversary celebration will create memories of its own. The June events will kick off on Friday, June 9, beginning at 6 p.m., in Joralemon Park with the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and opening remarks by local and state dignitaries, and Skeeter Creek will perform from 7-10 p.m. Vendors will line the park, including buildable stuffed animals, artwork,  jewelry, foods of all kinds and more.

The next day, on Saturday, June 10, the parade will begin the day’s events. The parade can be viewed starting on Main Street in Ravena near Magnolia Circle and proceeding down Main Street to Westerlo Street, where it will then head down to the riverfront.

“Saturday kicks off with the parade at 1 p.m.,” Boehlke said. “Marchers will line up near Persico Hardware and go towards the river. Participants will line up on Railroad Avenue and Russell Avenue and whatever side streets they need to get into formation. It will proceed down to Westerlo Street, make a right on Westerlo, and go down the hill to Coeymans Landing.”

Then the next phase of Saturday’s festivities will continue at Coeymans Landing with performances by The Refrigerators and Sugar Skull, carnival rides for the kids and more vendors.

Saturday’s celebration will conclude with a massive fireworks display beginning around 9 p.m.

The committee is still signing up both parade marchers and vendors, and invites everyone to come and participate.

“We are still open to everything,” committee member Marlene McTigue said. “We are still open to vendors, and we are especially still open to more parade participants. We are really looking for more community members to be involved in the parade. Boy Scout troops, Girl Scout troops, clubs, teams — any community organizations — women’s groups, youth groups, we would love it all. We want everyone to be represented.”

A number of local businesses and individuals have donated to the two-day festivities, but more assistance is always welcome. The two Platinum sponsors are Holcim-Lafarge, which is paying for the fireworks show at 9 p.m. Saturday, and Carver Companies, which is donating use of the barge and tugboat where the fireworks will be launched.

There are three Silver sponsors — Long Energy/Persico Oil, WM Biers Company and Capital Region Independent Media, which publishes the Ravena News-Herald.

The Bronze sponsor is McHugh Group. Iron sponsors include Collins and Son, TCI of NY, Francisco Equipment and Price Chopper. Pewter level sponsors are Crossroads Ford, Mueller’s Automotive, National Bank of Coxsackie, Bullock Utilities and Persico True Value. Other sponsors include VanEtten Excavating and Charles Hite Land Surveyor. Boomer’s Garage is a donor.

The celebration on June 9 and 10 will not be the end of the anniversary festivities. Residents Carol McDonald and Joan Radley have also organized a self-guided tour of local gardens, “The Secret Gardens of Coeymans,” on Thursday, June 22, from 4-8 p.m. Booklets with an itinerary will be available June 22 from 4-7 p.m. at Sycamore Country Club, at 38 Tompkins Road in Ravena.

A golf tournament, which will conclude the year’s festivities, is also planned for the fall. A date has not yet been finalized.

“There are not many communities in the country that can say they are 350 years old. We are older than Albany,” Tutay said. “This is monumental — you probably won’t see anything like this again in your lifetime.”

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