It’s that time once again when Woodstockers honor the legions of volunteers with a day of food and music, then a presentation of the Alf Evers Award at 8 p.m. and capping it all off with a the Woodstock Fire Departments phenomenal annual fireworks show at around 9 p.m. when the sun has departed for the day.
This Saturday is the 14th Annual Woodstock Volunteers Day at Andy Lee Field on Rock City Road. The theme is “A Day of Gratitude.”
The fun kicks off at 2 p.m. with a free picnic for volunteers of the many organizations from the fire department to the rescue squad to the people who donate their time and expertise on the various board and commissions, soup kitchens, organizations and more.
Those who don’t volunteer can pay $7 for a meal donated from many of the town’s restaurants. Food is available from 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
Volunteers will also get a raffle ticket for gift certificates from many stores and eateries in town. “We feel like it’s an additional gift to volunteers and it gives other stores and businesses an opportunity to contribute, said Woodstock Volunteers Day Committee President Tamara Cooper.
This year, the music and buffet will begin at the same time.
“We were a little out of sync last year, so this year we’re timing everything to start at the same time,” Cooper said.
In addition to the food and music, children will have lots to do. New this year is a series of stations with different games and activities. Those are in addition the bouncy house, slide, climbing house, bubbles and face painting available every year.
Children’s activities are free for children of volunteers and $3 for non-volunteers.
Volunteer honored, fireworks
After the music ends and before the fireworks begin, someone will receive the Alf Evers award for Volunteer of the Year. That someone is a closely guarded secret and we’ll have to wait until Saturday to find out who it is.
Then, after dark, it’s time for what many call the best fireworks show in the area, thanks to the Woodstock Fire Department.
Family of Woodstock is glad to help celebrate our volunteers
“I want to say how wonderful Sam Magarelli is for spearheading this and continuing to work on it all these years,” Cooper said. “It takes a lot of coordination and a lot of focus and he’s been great.”
Family of Woodstock became involved after a few years, helping with organization and volunteer labor. “We have about 50 people who volunteer here on a weekly basis. So as one of the organizations in town that have quite a few volunteers, we wanted to make sure we were in the position to support the whole initiative,” Cooper said. “I got involved and got my paid staff involved and have to hold my volunteer staff at bay sometimes. And that’s one of the challenges of doing this.”
Added Cooper, “People who volunteer, volunteer. And we ask them to not volunteer for this picnic that’s in celebration of them. So pulling in other people is part of the challenge. So we’ve asked our paid staff here to be part of organizing it and supporting it and helping the day of, so they’ve done a lot of that as well.”
Recognition important as more rely on services
The volunteer pool is suffering because younger parents and couples both work and don’t have as much time to help. At the same time, more are relying on volunteer services because of a changing economic climate.
“That’s another really good reason for us to acknowledge, celebrate and appreciate volunteers,” Cooper said. “Our communities really count on them to be able to have those layers of service, so that people in need get the help they need.”
Help with Volunteers Day
Organizers need help with setup starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, supervision for children’s activities starting at 12:30 p.m., help with the buffet line from 12:30 to 2:30 or 2:30 to 5:30 and with signs, banners and posters. Call (845) 679-2485 or email email@example.com for more information.
2 p.m. – Jude Roberts
3 p.m. – Joe Veilette Orchestra
4 p.m. – Simple Heart featuring Janice Hardgrove
5 p.m. – Bruce Ackerman
7 p.m. – Rennie Cantine Band featuring Sabrina Miller
Alf Evers Award
Prior to the fireworks that will cap off Volunteers Day, the 13h annual Alf Evers Award will be announced. The award, given in honor of the noted Woodstock historian, goes each year to an individual who, over the course of many years, has consistently and selflessly given back to the citizens of Woodstock. The award will be presented at 8 p.m. by Supervisor Bill McKenna. In addition, the recipient will also receive the Pride of Ulster County award presented by County Legislator Jonathan Heppner.