If you’ve volunteered countless hours of your time to this community, Saturday is your time to kick back, relax, enjoy a free picnic and listen to some live music at the Volunteers Day. And of course, who can forget about the fireworks. It’s the best show around, many locals say.
This is the 12th time Woodstock will make a day out of honoring its dedicated volunteers and their families. Just organizing and getting everything ready is a herculean task, which is why Family of Woodstock took on a larger role last year to help Volunteers Day founder Sam Magarelli.
The day of food and festivities at Andy Lee Field on Rock City Road is a way to honor those who help this town without pay, whether it be with the Fire Department, Rescue Squad, food pantries or the multitude of boards, commissions and committees.
“We began helping with the day-of preparation and gathering the food and delivering it, and then helping with the setup and the serving and the breakdown,” said Family of Woodstock Program Director Tamara Cooper. “And then it became clear it was a lot of work and Sam needed more help. At one point he said he would like to take a year off and find someone else to head the Volunteers’ Day board. So I said why don’t we try making it happen this year with Family doing more of the work.”
So the staff stepped up to the challenge and continued festivities that have become a Woodstock tradition.
“We did want to be part of the town and community honoring volunteers. Not just Family of Woodstock’s volunteers but this community in general because we really believe in volunteerism and how it builds community and creates a fabric in a town,” Cooper said.
This year as in the past, the celebration will feature lots of activities for kids, something Magarelli thought was very important from the beginning. “It teaches the younger generation the value of volunteering and the ways which the families hold communities that volunteer,” Cooper said.
An art bus and bouncy house will provide hours of entertainment for the kids and will be free for children of volunteers. A wristband can be had for a small charge so other children can join the fun.
Cooper said she’s looking for some sort of sprinkling system so folks can keep cool if it’s as hot as it’s been lately.
As always, the Volunteers Day board has assembled a fine list of musicians who themselves volunteer their time to make the day possible.
Cooper said the day wouldn’t be possible without the dedicate Volunteers Day Board of which she is president. She wishes to thank Barry Samuels, Kathy Anderson, Sam Magarelli, Pauline Criscimagna and Sue Carroll.
Conor Wenk starts the day’s music from 2:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m., followed by Marc Black and Happy Traum from 3:15 p.m.-4 p.m., The Cupcakes perform from 4:15 p.m.-5 p.m., Bruce Ackerman Band from 5:15 p.m.-6 p.m., Dog House from 6:15 p.m.-7 p.m. and Rennie Cantine Band from 7 p.m. until the fireworks start at nightfall. The band will take a break at 8 p.m. for the Alf Evers Volunteer of the Year Award. This year’s recipient, as always, is a closely guarded secret.
The food is free for volunteers, so dig in and enjoy. After all, it’s the least we could do. It’s donated by many of our local eateries. If you’re not a volunteer, think about becoming one. The rest of us can purchase grilled fare such as hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers. A food truck from Lekker of Stone Ridge will be on site and will even stay until the end of the fireworks show.
A loud and dazzling fireworks display caps off the day, thanks to the Woodstock Fire Department. A cacophony of sounds will shake the ground beneath you and a light show will fill the sky above Andy Lee and the surrounding area.
Seeking help for 2017
“We’re always looking for more help, more board members to come and share the work and more of the local organizations that use volunteers to come help with preparation,” Cooper said. For more information, contact Family of Woodstock at 845-679-2485 or visit volunteersday.com.