To brighten a very dark time of the year, a group of local women are planning a festival on Friday, February 3 through Sunday, February 5. The organizers presented their plan to the Saugerties Village Board at its meeting on Monday, October 3.
“We’re calling it the Snow Moon Festival,” said Kelly Myers, one of the organizers along with Sue Sachar and Miriam Adams.
Myers, who has served as a Saugerties Village Trustee and Town Supervisor, said a Native-American name for the moon at that time in February was “hunger moon” because food was scarce. Fall is harvest time and is also a generally prosperous time in the village, but “when you get into the winter, that’s when the businesses, the community groups — especially groups that serve needy families – really need a shot in the arm.”
Myers explained that the idea was inspired by a similar festival in Lake George which features events such as outhouse races on the lake and ice bars. “We were thinking: ‘Why can’t we do that here?”
The group has a number of events planned, including a village parade, as well as an ambitious series of events leading up to it. The organizers are hoping to work with community groups, such as the VFW, the American Legion, Boys & Girls Club and churches. “If they can do an event that weekend, it would be really good for Saugerties,” Myers said. “They would get to keep the money [the event raised].
“We’re hoping to have a comedy night on Friday night,” said Sachar. She went on to describe a lineup of events the group hopes to see on that weekend, including ice sculptures, a 5K race, a presentation on the history of ice harvesting, a chili cook-off done through local restaurants, a scavenger hunt with local businesses, a competition for kids involving the Yeti with wrist bands and possibly a free movie, buggy rides and relay races. There are several other events in the works, which depend on the participation of other organizations.
“We’re trying to bring light to the community in the dark time of the year,” Sachar said. The parade would be led by firefighters with torches, and there would be a large bonfire on the Saugerties beach. In addition to the long list of Saturday events, the organizers are hoping the American Legion would sponsor a breakfast on Sunday of that weekend
Some of the events, such as a parade, will require permission, Sachar said. Mayor Bill Murphy said the permit would not be a problem, but he suggested a shorter parade route than the holiday or patriotic parades generally follow. Sachar said the parade will emphasize art, with local artists participating, students constructing puppets in cooperation with Arm of the Sea Theater, possible participation of schools and local businesses.
The only issue the board would have to decide on would be the parade and the bonfire, which should be coordinated with the fire department, Murphy said. Trustees had a number of suggestions for the bonfire location, rather than the beach, but the board fully supported the plan. Murphy suggested that it is possible that a DEC permit may also be required.
Murphy moved that the board offer its support for the planned event, which passed unanimously.