Story by Jennifer O’Connor
In an elegant setting, under a large, beautifully lit tent in Lewis Park in Warwick, approximately 200 people enjoyed the Warwick Historical Society’s “Party in the Park” fundraiser on Sat., Aug. 25.
The event featured a signature cocktail designed by the Black Dirt Distillery, craft beer from the Pine Island Brewery, craft cider from Pennings Cidery, wine and beverages from Peck’s Wine & Spirits, dinner by Grappa Ristorante, and homemade desserts.
The proceeds from ticket sales as well as a silent, chance and live auction will help support the buildings and properties owned by the Historical Society, whose mission is to protect, preserve and promote the rich heritage of the Town of Warwick and its Villages.
During the evening, Cathryn Anders, the Board President of the Historical Society, and Lisa-Ann Weisbrod, the Executive Director, thanked all of the event sponsors, everyone who generously donated items to the silent and chance auctions, event committee members and volunteers, and the attendees for their support.
Weisbrod told the crowd that the evening also paid tribute to Warwick’s vibrant agritourism industry while recognizing honorary co-chairs – the Wright Family of Wright Family Farms, the Pennings Family, and the Grizzanti’s and Jeremy Kidde of Warwick Valley Winery and Black Dirt Distillery.
The Warwick Valley Winery, which opened to the public in 1994, has since expanded into the spirits business, becoming the first craft distillery in New York. As the distillery business continued to grow, to keep up with the demand, they created the Black Dirt Distillery.
Another thriving agritourism business in Warwick is Pennings Farm Market. Throughout the years, owners Steve and Jill Pennings have turned their farm into a year-round destination, with the addition of a garden center, grill, ice cream stand, a brew pub with live music, and the newly renovated beer garden.
While cideries and breweries bring visitors to the Warwick Valley, another draw is the pumpkin patch, corn maize and barnyard activities at the Wright Family Farm, which started as a dairy farm in 1912. In 2011, the farm was awarded Purchase Development Rights (PDR), and the funds have allowed the Wright Family sole ownership of the farm, preserving it for future generations.
As the evening celebrated Warwick’s agritourism, participants enjoyed delicious local food and beverages, music by Soulia and the Sultans, and took part in the silent, chance and live auctions. During the live auction, many raised their hands making pledges that ranged from $100 to $1,000 to restore the Old School Baptist Meeting House.
The Warwick Historical Society, a non-profit organization, saved the Old School Baptist Meeting House from imminent destruction in 1951. The Meeting House, which has hosted countless weddings, memorial services, baptisms, lectures, and the Annual Christmas Eve Sing Along, needs restoration.
For more information about the Warwick Historical Society or to donate call 986-3236.