After a rainy weekend, the weather broke on Monday and Saugertiesians were out and about. Cantine Field was full of people enjoying themselves — kids on playgrounds, teens practicing baseball and skateboarding, adults at the tennis courts. But the real party was at the soccer field by the ice arena. Approaching it, one was greeted with the smell of BBQ and the fuzzy echo of someone calling a game in Spanish. In fact, that’s what everyone was speaking. The event was a soccer tournament to benefit the Monte de Oración church, Saugerties’ first bilingual church, which holds services in the First Baptist Church building on Partition St. The teams were from all around — Connecticut, New Jersey, New Rochelle, Newburgh, Kingston and a couple from Saugerties.
The competition was fierce and the action was fast. The teams were 18-and-up amateur soccer squads. We met Nick Lopez, who organized the tournament and runs the local soccer league, his wife Linda Lopez ( shown in photo announcing the raffle winner) who kept things running smoothly, as well as the leaders of the church, Jose Manuel Perez and his wife Aldy Perez (they’re in the center of the group shot). We asked Linda Lopez if events like this and the establishment of a bilingual church reflected an influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants from Central and South America. She nodded vigorously — the town is changing. “A lot of Spanish people,” she said.
Photos by Will Dendis