“This year is going to be a little bit special because it’s going to be on Sept. 11,” explained Gardiner Day organizer Jewel Turner.
Carl Zatz, another Gardiner Day organizer, wasn’t giving away too many of the festivals secrets. However, he did talk a little bit about what the Sept. 11 events would be like.
“It’s not a memorial service by any means. But we will honor the day,” Zatz explained. To remember the roughly 3,000 people who died that day in New York and Washington, the town will have the Gardiner Fire Department march and there will be a bagpipes and drummers. Local parachuters will bring a bit of patriotic flare with a special landing at the park.
“We’re still in the planning stages,” the former town supervisor added. “But we will honor the day.”
Also new at this year’s Gardiner Day will be a Peruvian horse demonstration. Peruvian horse shows are a little different than the average equestrian event. The horses in question are trained to do a jig of sorts. “They dance very lightly on their feet,” Turner said.
Traditionally, the festival has been held in September and serves not only to entertain, but it also helps highlight local businesses. It has live music, clowns and games for children, but adults can also head to booths to learn about what Gardiner’s businesses have to offer.
Recently, whip experts have wowed crowds with whip-cracking demonstrations, martial artists have shown people their fighting skills, kids and thrill-seekers have brought down local dignitaries in the dunking booth, and local dance troupes have rehearsed their skills for the audience.
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Right now, the town is still looking to expand and finalize the event by getting in more vendors into the booths.
While the festival is just one day a year, the planning usually takes place all year long. Gardiner Day Committee members host an annual spaghetti dinner as a fundraiser and also help to organize the town’s annual Easter egg hunt.
That weekend will also be a good one for fairgoers. The day after Gardiner Day lets out, the Taste of New Paltz will happen at the Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz.
Gardiner Day will take place at Majestic Park and runs from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 11.
For more information, or to sign up as a vendor, call Turner at the Gardiner Town Hall 255-9675, ext. 103. For pictures and a better idea of what to expect, head to www.facebook.com and search for the “Gardiner Day New York” page.