Kids took part in a pie eating contest organized by members of the Pawling Scouting Community. Photo by LISA KELSEY
Sunday, July 1, saw temperatures rise to above 95 degrees in Pawling, but the hot weather could do little to dampen the spirits of everyone who came to Lakeside Park for the town’s Independence Day Celebration. The first gathering of its kind in Pawling in twelve years, the celebration was a rousing success, thanks to the efforts of the many community members, organizations, volunteers, and sponsors who took part. The Pawling Independence Day Celebration was originally conceived by Town Supervisor James Schmitt, working with the Pawling Chamber of Commerce. Event organizers estimate that more than 600 guests came out to enjoy the celebration.
When the festivities started, there was no shortage of activities, especially for the youngsters in attendance. Representatives from Pawling Soccer, Pawling Karate, Pawling Little League, and the Pawling Scouting community were all on hand to help organize games for the kids, including a pie eating contest. “These groups all organized their own events, and that made a significant contribution to the day,” said Chamber of Commerce President Peter Cris, who was instrumental in the organization of the event. Scoutmaster Kevin Greco said, “Even though it was crazy hot, the day was fantastic, and the girl and boy scouts were very glad to be a part of it.”
Guests at Lakeside Park had a special treat in the form of animals from Rock Hill Farm. Visitors could see oxen up close and take a wagon ride led by a team of Belgian Draft Horses. Danny Blumberg, whose family owns Rock Hill Farm, was proud to be a part of Pawling’s Independence Day. “My family and I loved the opportunity to bring a few of our gentle giants to the event,” he said. “It was nice to see how many hard working and patriotic families we have in this town. We’re already looking forward to next year's event.” Peter Cris added, “The animals from Rock Hill were definitely a highlight of the day.”
No community festival would be complete without refreshments, and food service at community day was overseen by Henry Schaber, owner of Pawling Family Quick Stop and Ben Christgau, owner of the Taphouse Tavern and the recently opened Tacos and Cones. “Ben and Henry were busy all day, nonstop,” said Cris. For Ben Christgau, working at Pawling’s Independence Day Celebration was an enjoyable experience. “It was great seeing the event come together, especially on such short notice,” he said. “We got so much positive feedback. This just goes to show what we can do when everyone works together. I’ll definitely go back next year.”
The finale came around 9:00 p.m., as the weather cooled and guests were treated to a magnificent fireworks show over the lake. Financing for the community celebration came in the form of sponsorships from PCSB, Trinity-Pawling School, Emery & Webb, Pawling Rotary Club, Insite Engineering, AMAXX, American Legion Hasler-Kamp Post 215, Crystal Park, and Diana Tomasetti.