Washingtonville will host a “History Circle” and other fun events this weekend as community members prepare for the borough’s sesquicentennial celebration this spring.
According to Mayor Tyler Dombroski, the History Circle, from 3 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, will include a few individuals scheduled to share stories about the borough on pre-selected topics. After that, he said, “other attendees are invited to share their own stories about the topic.”
Stories will be recorded and transcribed in preparation for the upcoming 150th anniversary of the borough’s incorporation in April.
The borough hosted a similar event in the fall, Dombroski said, and again it will be sponsored by the Washingtonville Revitalization Committee and the Jane E. DeLong Memorial Association.
The idea arose out of the monthly meetings of the WRC.
“One of our members of the WRC suggested doing a quarterly speaker series where we would get individuals to come speak to the community on various topics,” Dombroski said. “When we failed to nail down anyone for the first event, the WRC decided to make the community itself be the speaker.”
The idea is one that Dombroski resonates with personally. A lifelong resident of the area, he said, “I enjoy getting the word out about the history of our community.”
Some aspects of its history have been told well over the years, he explained, such as the life and legacy of Frank DeLong. Other parts, such as Fort Bosley and the community’s connection to the Revolutionary War, have not. And that’s something he hopes to change.
Also on Sunday, the Strawberry Ridge Bluegrass Band, located in the nearby village of Strawberry Ridge, will perform from 2 to 3 p.m. Lead singer Renee Goocey said she is looking forward to celebrating the community she has come to love. In 2010, she and her husband bought the farm on which they now live, and moved there from New England.
“We really love this area,” she said. “It’s rich with resources. We have all the beautiful farmland. It’s a small-town feel. We love where we live, we really do. It’s exciting for Strawberry Ridge to be able to celebrate the area.”
And as the event looks back into the borough’s rich history, she’s also looking at the present and its preparation for a brighter future.
“I love what Washingtonville is doing by bringing the area back to life, and giving it a new, fresh perspective,” she said.
Strawberry Ridge Bluegrass Band was formed in 2011, and includes Goocey, who also plays rhythm guitar; Robert Shuey, lead guitar; Dave Kessler, upright bass; Mark Doncheski, banjo; and Rick Marcera, mandolin.
Goocey said they play a lot of local events, from gospel sets at churches to various restaurants and festivals, as well as private family picnics.
She defines their music as bluegrass and Americana.
“We can really play just about anything,” she said. “We love to make harmonies vocally. We like to take more modern songs and put a bluegrass twist to it. We can also play traditional bluegrass.” On Sunday, she said the concert will include “some gospel music, some traditional bluegrass, and some of that Americana that is really just celebrating living in our country, and being able to be free.
“It’s going to be a really nice blend of different kinds of tunes.”
The weekend’s festivities will also include a free community arts and crafts event for kids on Saturday, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the Jane E. DeLong Memorial Hall. Raffle gift baskets will be on display during that time, as well as during the events on Sunday. Winners will be announced on Sunday after the concert; they must be present to win.
All raffle proceeds will support the WRC’s future events and projects, including the construction of a swing set at DeLong Park, and a community kayak launch.
Events are still being planned for the borough’s 150th anniversary celebration. Dombroski said the festivities will include bluegrass music, history-themed events, events for kids, and food and drinks.