Articles From the August 1995 Unification News


Deerpark Family Festival 1995

by Mark Turegano-Port Jervis, NY

The Second Annual Deerpark Family Festival took place this year at New Hope Farms from July 6th through the 9th. Over 15,000 people came to the fair and enjoyed a wide variety of amusement rides, entertainment, and, of course, food.

Because of the large turnout and the magnitude of the event, this festival has become the main celebration not only for the Town of Deerpark but for the entire tri-state region. As such the Organizing Committee for the event is comprised of all the local political leaders, both Democrat and Republican, as well as of the main service groups in the town.

All who worked on the committee, which began its preparations in August of last year right after the first festival, shared a common vision, namely, that it is absolutely essential to reinforce family values and to promote wholesome entertainment that an entire family can enjoy together. Because of this all the volunteers set aside political and personal interests and worked public-mindedly and tirelessly for the event, which is the main reason it has become so successful.

Some of the special guests who addressed the crowd at the Festival's Opening Ceremonies were Congressman Ben Gilman, County Sheriff Frank Bigger (a Deerpark resident), and the Speaker of the Orange County Legislature Roberta Murphy. Mrs. Murphy, a very energetic political figure who is in her seventies, got into the spirit of the Festival and encouraged one of the younger members of the legislature who was also at the opening ceremonies to start dancing to the featured Country Western Band right in the spectator pavilion, while she and the wife of the County Sheriff clapped out a rousing dance beat.

Recognition of the significance of the festival did not end at the county level, however. A congratulatory letter praising the festival and its spirit was sent from the White House; it was signed by Bill Clinton, who along with Hillary Clinton sent their best wishes for the event.

The centerpiece of the festival was the carnival, which featured rides for both kiddies and teenagers. There was also a craft and food vendor area where over 100 vendors set up games, clothing & jewelry boutiques, every imaginable type of food, and even a trout pond, where would-be fishermen could catch and take home rainbow trout, some of which were almost a foot long. Country Western Music rounded out the main attractions and played to the two covered spectator pavilions. It was here that Grandma and Grampa and even Mom and Dad could relax while the kids enjoyed the rides and fun.

Fun came in many forms. Saturday night featured a spectacular fireworks display that was watched by over 5,000 people. In preparation for the show, the Carl Richards Band played to an excited, swelling crowd. The celebration spirit was infectious and about two dozen children between the ages of 1 and 10 came up to the stage and danced right up to the start of the fireworks show. The fireworks, which were presented by Legion Fireworks from Wappingers Falls delighted all and even intrigued some of the horses on the property who watched the show through their stall windows.

In addition to the main attractions, a vast array of shows, demonstrations, and contests filled the four days. A Classic Car Show that featured Model T's, Model A's, '57 Chevy's, and the immortal 1966 Mustang brought car enthusiasts from the entire tri-state region. The Mid-Hudson Rescue squad demonstrated state-of-the-art equipment that enables them to rescue victims trapped inside mangled automobiles. There was a synchronized Harley Davidson Motorcycle exhibition done by a renowned Motorcycle drill team. An appearance was also made by the United States Soccer Team who set up a goal and challenged daring spectators to better the speed of their kicks that were measured by radar guns provided by State Troopers.

Local talent was also in abundance for proud parents and friends as both local Dance and Karate Schools put on first class shows. The Port Jervis High Cheerleaders also showed their spirit and entertained the crowds with their latest cheers and acrobatics. A "Love Our Kids" Contest was sponsored and judged by the Lions Club who offered ribbons and Certificates to "adorable" youthful competitors in age categories that ranged from 0 to 10 years old.

Finally, an essay contest was held in the local schools in conjunction with the festival. The theme that the students were to write on was "What Family Means to Me." All the essays submitted were very touching and inspiring and revealed how vastly important the security of the family unit and love is to all children.

One first grader said it very succinctly, "Your family loves you best, so love them good too." A high school competitor put her feelings about family more humorously. She wrote, "My family are the people I can have a bad hair day around and not be the least worried." The winner of the contest summed it up best; she affirmed, "All the money in the world won't make up for missing out on family. You can't buy love. Money can't buy you a family or their love."

Overall, the event was viewed as an unqualified success by everyone, not just in the turnout, which was substantial, but in the spirit and tone of the event. Even the carnival management said the festival was the cleanest and most wholesome event they have come to. "Kind of like Sunday School ...," one of the carnival's coordinators commented, "compared to other places we have gone." Ultimately, the reason for the success was that the entire committee of townspeople and officials were all united around the theme of the family and putting the whole before self. These are values that are the essence of the vision of Rev. Moon, and when they are applied, they work-and work well they did at the Second Deerpark Family Festival.


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