To mark the one-year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene, communities are banding together partly to remember the destruction it caused, but more to recall the camaraderie and sense of community that arose from the disaster.
Prattsville in Greene County was devastated by flooding, but an advertisement at www.prattsville.org for its first “MudFest” makes it clear the town’s spirit is strong.
“On Aug. 28, 2011, life dealt the people of Prattsville mud — and plenty of it — they vowed then and there to create the First Annual MudFest the following year. … So come get dirty or stay clean, but come to celebrate the strength and adversity after a year of recovery and rebuilding in Prattsville!” the ad says.
How to help
Prattsville: Contact the Prattsville Recovery Center — Huntersfield Christian Training Center at 299-3347, 347-633-1536, or 347-782-2667 to volunteer. To donate, go to www.prattsville.org/how-to-help to give money via Paypal to the Prattsville Relief Fund Inc. or mail a check to Prattsville Relief Fund Inc., c/o NBT Bank, P.O Box 380, Grand Gorge, NY 12434.
Schoharie: Details on how to volunteer or donate money to help rebuild the area around the Schoharie Creek basin can be found at www.saltrecovery.org, or by contacting the Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery office at 702-5017 or by mail at SALT Recovery, P.O. Box 777, Schoharie, NY 12157. Checks can also be sent to the Community Foundation, 6 Tower Place, Albany, NY 12203, with SALT Recovery written in the memo line.
Schenectady: Go to www.schenectadyfoundation.org and click “Donate,” or mail a check to Schenectady County Rebuilding Families Fund, c/o The Schenectady Foundation, 376 Broadway, Schenectady, NY 12305. To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 557-7976.
Middleburgh: Donations of money or time can be made though Southern Valley Recovery, run by Carol Coltran, at the Methodist Church in Middleburgh or checks can be sent directly to the Village Relief Fund, P.O. Box 789, Middleburgh, NY 12122. Questions should be directed to the Village Hall at 827-5143.
MudFest is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday and will involve a play, fireworks and “everything mud.”
The festivities will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday with a play performed by local children and the Soup-2-Nuts Theater Company. “Water, Water, Everywhere!” will be performed in the new addition to the local Agway. That will be followed at 5 p.m. by a Native American water blessing ceremony on the town Green and a community picnic from 6 to 9 p.m.
On Sunday, there will be mud-themed drinks, ice cream and pies and mud games and mud sculptures. Participants will be able to take part in tug-of-war and volleyball tournaments, both very muddy, at Devasego Park. Carnival rides, crafts, clowns and live music will be featured on the town Green.
Contests like the “dirtiest car” and food offerings like “mud fudge and dirt dessert” are promised on the event’s Facebook page.
At the Schoharie County Fairgrounds in Cobleskill, a similar festival will celebrate the achievements of a community.
“Schoharie County One-Year Later, Country Strong,” an event being run by Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery, will take place from 2 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, though donations will be accepted. A flier on SALT Recovery’s website, www.saltrecovery.org, promises food, music and more than 35 artisans and vendors.
“Eyes of the Storm,” a series of art projects done by Gilboa-Conesville Central School students, will also be on exhibit. An outdoor screening of the movie “The Goonies” will take place later in the evening, and community and elected officials have been invited to speak.
“Country Strong” is supported by donations. Organizations like Gobbler’s Knob, Esperance LP, Rent A Center, AMT Inc., Delphi Paper Hanging, A&H Forest Management, Bank of Richmondville, Community Maternity Services, Schoharie County Child Development Council Inc., American Hotel, Aidone Eye Care, A Cut Above, Taste of Europe, Iroquois Indian Museum, Green Fiber of Albany, Stewart’s Shops, Barber’s Farms, Lamont Engineers and the Village Hall Gallery will provide materials and gifts.
SALT will also hold the second annual “Schoharie Valley Rock ’n’ Roll Flood Relief Concert” in Schoharie from noon until midnight Saturday, Sept. 22. Bands including Poor Dead Molly, Flashback, Max Violet, Chelsea Cavanaugh, Chicken Herders, Shakey Ground, Von Rudder and Crash Coarse will perform.
Middleburgh Mayor Matthew Avitabile referred to “Country Strong” as the focus of events, saying he feels it’s important for the county to come together.
“It shows how much the county comes together,” he said. “We need to continue to have spirit. We’ve received great help from volunteers, and this is an opportunity to remember the lessons of community we learned through the flood.”
Meanwhile, the Schoharie Promotional Association will sponsor what spokeswoman Darlene Patterson calls an observance at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the courtyard of the County Courthouse. “A year ago, Then and Now,” it says on a flier, is to “reflect and share as we join together ... and more importantly, to look to our future.”
In Schenectady County, the Flood Recovery Coalition for Schenectady County will be holding a countywide celebration, “Schenectady County Remembers,” from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction.
The celebration will be part “solemn recognition” of the impact Tropical Storm Irene had on the community and part celebration of county-wide recovery efforts. According to a flier, the event will have live music, free food and children’s activities. A 15- to 20-minute documentary detailing the impact flooding had on Schenectady County will be shown at 7 and 8:15 p.m.
The coalition represents organizations including the Schenectady Foundation, Schenectady County Historical Society, City Mission, Schenectady Community Action Program, Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity, St. Margaret of Cortona Church in Rotterdam Junction, Schenectady County Public Library and Friends of the Library.
Coalition spokesman Robert Carreau said it will be a largely informal gathering, with photographs taken by local residents on exhibit.
“There won’t be a lot of speeches,” he said. “It’s about people gathering together. We might ask people to share their experiences, if they want, but most of all this is about the community coming together.”
Carreau also said the Rotterdam Junction firehouse will host an open house Tuesday, the same day there will be a block party on North Street in the Stockade section of Schenectady.