Mum’s the word

Gabriella Miyoshi, 10, of New Windsor gets her face painted by Tina VanVoorhis. (photo by Robert Ford)

This year’s mum festival, postponed from the previous week because of anticipated inclement weather, drew hundreds of folks from throughout the area to celebrate all things mum at Seamon Park.

The 47th festival was dedicated this year in memory of former mayor Robert Yerick, and past festival committee chair Connie Marcus, both of whom died within the last year.

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Village trustee and deputy mayor Jeanine Mayer welcomed visitors to the park, which was bedecked in more than 2000 mum plants. She noted that the event would not have been possible without the help of Parks supervisor George Terpening, who, along with his parks crew plants and takes care of the mums. She also lauded the mum festival committee, the Society of Little Gardens, the Blue Kats, the Women’s Club of Saugerties, and the Seamon Park Board.

Calling the festival “a wonderful Saugerties tradition,” supervisor Kelly Myers said that both Yerick and Marcus “were dear friends, wonderful people and contributed so much to our community.”

“Connie, and Mr. Mayor [as Myers always refers to Yerick] each loved Saugerties, and gave so much of themselves to help less fortunate people in our community,” Myers said. “They also believed that the community pride we feel, stemming from beautification efforts we do, is important to nurture, and essential for the future prosperity of Saugerties.”

“Most of all, our community,” said Ethel Resso, chair of the mum festival committee, “is a very special community that is unique, friendly, and caring. We are proud to be a part of this festive day of tradition, and share our park with the many families.”

The day’s festivities were presided over by this year’s Mum Queen Hayley Spoljaric, and her court, Nickie Voerg and Victoria Craft.

Seamon Park was donated to the town in 1907 by John and George Seamon.

The brothers donated the land “for use as a park, a breathing place, open and free at all times to every person.” A number of individuals and organizations have donated money since its dedication to the village in 1907 to help beautify it. Henrietta Seamon, John’s sister, set up a memorial fund that was to be used to maintain and enhance the park.

In 1929, local Camp Fire Girls built the fireplaces located in the picnic area, and cast bronze fountains and plantings of flowering shrubs and trees were added over the years. Local youngsters collecting pennies donated them to have a children’s statute erected in the front of the park.

In 1965, according to the mum festival committee, the Saugerties Rotary Club as well as other residents established the festival “to add to the awareness and appreciation of the site.”

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