So far there’s a date -- Sunday, May 15 -- but the planning team is still working out the details.
“We’re in very new stages,” organizer Shari Kanner said. “It was an idea that started with the Rotary thinking about some sort of health day. But I’ve always wanted to do New Paltz Day.”
For the past two years, the New Paltz Police Department has put on an event called “Cops 4 Kids Day” at the Ulster County Fairgrounds. While it was an impressive display of SWAT team tactical equipment, riot gear, motorcycles and even helicopters, the event didn’t take off in the way police had hoped.
This new festival, New Paltz Day, will incorporate all of the Cops 4 Kids events -- including a kickball game against the local cops.
“We’re making our event part of a larger event,” explained NPPD Officer Duke Bunce. The old Cops 4 Kids Day was also targeted at smaller children -- New Paltz Day, like Gardiner Day, will be something for all ages -- a wide variety of local businesses pitching wares, high school rockers jamming on the main stage, families running to food kiosks, games, prizes and maybe even a clown or two.
But at its heart, New Paltz Day -- which is the brainchild of Community Partnership for a Safer New Paltz members -- will have a pretty strong message.
“The goal of this day is to promote a fun, drug-free day for kids and families,” said David Lester, one of the festival organizers. Lester, a chiropractor based in New Paltz, is helping to get the businesses signed up for the fair.
He said he envisioned a day with a general spa atmosphere, where masseuses, acupuncturists and other professionals had the time and space to give demonstrations about their shops. “The idea is to get a myriad of businesses,” Lester said.
One twist to the setup of the fair is the inclusion of high schoolers. New Paltz High School students from the Participation in Government class, or PIGLET, will get to organize one-third of the fair -- from picking out and scheduling the music, entertainment and games, to figuring out how the fair gets cleaned up at the end of the day.
Locally, the PIGLET class is known for doing some pretty novel things -- such as exit polling during school board elections, which is collected and tabulated fully by the students. However, planning a fair is some new territory for the group.
For more information or to become involved with New Paltz Day, search for “Community Partnership for a Safer New Paltz” on Facebook or call (914) 474-0797.”