In the late 1800s, Thomas Edison brought his most famous invention, the electric light bulb, to Newburgh. Edison's company built the city's first power plant in 1884, making Newburgh one of the first cities in the world to be electrified. It's from this moment in history that the Newburgh Illuminated Festival (June 20-22) draws its inspiration. More than 50 giant lightbulbs will adorn the city streets, each individually decorated by local artists, as a symbol of the city's illuminated history.
Even before that, Newburgh was a bustling mini-metropolis, a hub of transportation, industry, and manufacturing, producing everything from boxes to bricks. In 1939, RCA test-marketed their new invention, the television set, in Newburgh, a good decade before Milton Berle and Lucille Ball turned the device into a must have for the rest of America. Now as the city has begun to see some signs of economic growth the organizers of the festival aim to highlight the city's storied history while also emphasizing the renewal and potential of the present day.
Under the theme “Made in Newburgh,” the festival will feature an exhibit by the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands that aims to tell the story of the manufacturing history of Newburgh. Other events include a punk concert Friday evening, special children's activities Saturday, and an art show Sunday afternoon. The festival runs from June 20-22, for more information check out their website. The exhibit will be on display between June 22 and August 30 at the Captain David Crawford House, see the historical society's website for more information.