Monday, June 22, 2015

Coney Island’s Got Nothing on Rosendale

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge LOUISA DUFFY
  • Louisa Duffy

The town summer camp that’s housed at the Rosendale Rec Center complex makes a home base in the pavilion, and when it’s 100 degrees, the kids sit at the picnic tables and stare at the empty pool just on the other side of the chain link fence. Tara Burke, the Recreation Director at the Town of Rosendale, says it’s like torture. The swim team has relocated, and there are no swimming lessons offered to Rosendale children. The Brookside School, which bussed from Cottekill 100 children each day, can’t hold their summer physical and occupational therapy gym classes there anymore, which got kids out of their wheelchairs and into the pool. “It’s in the heart of Ulster County, in a central location. There’s not another pool like this that’s town-operated, open to the public, and on a beautiful park,” says Burke. “It’s one of a kind, and it’s a sorry loss. And it’s agony not to be able to provide it for our children.”

click to enlarge JOHN FISCHER
  • John Fischer

What started as a sand-bottom pool prior to the 1970s, the current one is 40 years old, and for the past 5-10 of those, the town’s been patching it and praying. When the bottom of the pool began to crack, and the federal standards changed, the town had to close the pool. That happened with a lot of local pools nationwide. Holding a bill in their hands for $1 million replacement costs, the town’s leaders couldn’t stomach asking the taxpayers for more money. Their grant-writing and fundraising campaign brought in over $1 million, but by that time, inflation had brought the price of construction up, and there was a gap in the funding. So Louisa Duffy, a Rosendale resident and a manager at the New York Blood Center, decided to do something about it.

Thinking of a water theme and how the words sort of rhyme, Duffy conceived of the First Annual Rosendale Mermaid Parade, which will take over the town on Sunday, June 28th, for an event to raise money, through private donations and mermaid sponsors, for the pool rebuild. Duffy says she only just learned of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade that annually draws over half a million people to Brooklyn for the World’s Largest Art Parade. And the First Annual Rosendale Mermaid Parade will be different. “This is women and children on a Sunday afternoon dressing like mermaids to raise money for our town pool.” And it’s something to unite the community. Something it’s already done. The Rosendale Farmer’s Market is donating table space for two mermaid registration desks and acting as a starting point for the parade. Amy Trompetter of the Redwing Blackbird Theater has, for the past few weeks, been running workshops at the theater so volunteers can help create giant puppets for people to carry in the parade. The Mid-Hudson Misfits roller derby team will carry a giant seahorse puppet in the parade. The Women’s Club of Rosendale has been a major sponsor of the event. In taking action to get back their town pool, these folks hope the Rosendale Mermaid Parade will teach kids to be creative and dream big.

Join them all weekend! On Friday, June 26th, the last puppet workshop will be held at the Redwing Blackbird Theater from 5-8p, with a Mermaid Parade dress rehearsal. On Friday, June 26th and Saturday, June 27th, the Rosendale Theater will be showing the 1984 flick, Splash, with Daryl Hannah and Tom Hanks, at 5p and offering reduced ticket prices for anyone dressed as a mermaid.

Then on Sunday, June 28th, spend the day in Rosendale. Main Street, the Rosendale Flea Market, and the Rosendale Farmer’s Market will be open about 10a so people can eat and socialize prior to the parade. Check in at the Mermaid desks at the Farmer’s Market with your sponsorship and donations. The top fundraisers are the Mermaid Parade King and Queen. Line up for the parade around 12:30p. The First Annual Rosendale Mermaid Parade kicks off about 1p, with the Rosendale Improvement Association Brass Band and Social Club leading the way to the tune of water-themed songs. The event is free, but donations to the rebuilding efforts of the Rosendale town pool are encouraged. Find up-to-the minute updates on Facebook, and donate online.
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