Warwick will celebrate the Fourth of July on the holiday – Tues., Jul. 4 – with an “Olde Time Family Fourth” celebration at the Warwick Valley Community Center, located at 11 Hamilton Ave. in Warwick.
“Think of it as a giant block party,” community center Board President Bill Steinauer said. “We wanted to be part of the Village’s Sesquicentennial Celebration and we wanted to have a family event. Mayor (Michael) Newhard pointed out there were no options for families on the Fourth.”
So, streets around the center and its grounds will be closed on Tues., Jul. 4. Local favorite, E’lissa Jones and two hours of square dancing are the highlights of a full day of entertainment.
There will be old fashioned games and races for kids, a dunk tank and a photo booth. Crafters and demonstrators, including those representing the Civil War, will be on hand. There will also be plenty of food, root beer and lemonade, as well as pickle making and pie eating contests. Homemade Pickle contestants can get free cucumbers in advance from Warwick Tomato by calling 986-5571. Organizers are still looking for pickle judges.
Steinauer said a bicycle parade and pageant will kick things off at the Railroad Green in the Village at 10:45 a.m. Participants are encouraged to decorate their bikes and helmets are a must. Cyclists of all ages will proceed to the Community Center where judges will be on hand to weigh their decorations. Then, at 11 a.m., Two Bank Street will sing mostly children’s songs for a half-hour. Singer-songwriter Shannon Rogers will be on at 11:30 a.m.
When the event was suggested to Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, “he said, ‘I always thought we should have the reading of the Declaration of Independence on July Fourth,’” Steinauer remembered. So at 12 noon there will be just that, with the help of singers and musicians from Warwick High School.
E’lissa Jones will perform at 1 p.m. and caller Pat Cannon will take over at 3 p.m. with two hours of square dancing.
“This is for all ages and all levels of experience,” Steinauer said. “Pat will teach the beginners. And I will be one of them.”
Volunteers from the Bruderhof Community in Bellvale will host the large play area (think three-legged races) for kids from 1 to 4 p.m. and the dunk tank will also kick off at 1 p.m.
The event is a fundraiser for the center and will feature the “soft opening” of its Three-Pines Nature Place, a play area that’s incorporating natural elements and replacing its old traditional playground.
“We have many programs for the community,” said Executive Director Karen Thomas, “several of them centering around our top priority of substance abuse prevention.”
Steinauer and Thomas said the center plans to keep adding programs for all ages and hope that the Olde Time Family Fourth will become an annual event to help it achieve that goal. They also pointed out that the center’s 93-year-old former school building is costly to maintain.
The cost for admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children and seniors. There are still open spots for artisans, demonstrators and vendors. Volunteers are also needed. For more information or to volunteer, call 986-6422.