Independence Day seemed to slide by in an easy-going blur this year. Usually big festivals at Clermont keep me in a constant state of busy-ness with just a few moments to watch one or two performers and say hello to my many volunteers.
Instead, our Old-Fashioned Independence Day 2009 felt like a perfect "Saturday in the Park" (to quote the old Chicago song): children laughing, people passing, and a man giving out free ice cream from Stewart's Shops of New York. Adams Fairacre Farm was also kind enough to donate a dozen watermelons to give away free. It couldn't hurt that this was the first sunny Saturday we'd seen in almost a month--or that Clear Channel of the Hudson Valley helped us to spread the word.
Now, "easy-going" is not to say that we weren't full of visitors. Even with gas prices high and more families staying close to home, our crowd was almost as large as last year's record numbers, and heaps of free and low-cost activities made it easy for families to stay and enjoy themselves all day. The children's contests, live music, 18th century toys, and the special house tours (which are free for children under 12) were big hits all around.
Even the "UnderWhere?: Women's Clothing in 18th Century" demonstration was a big hit. It seemed like every time I looked up from showing yet another layer of my 18th century costume (there were 6 in all), another family or two had drifted over. By the end, it was standing-room only.
There were no shortage of picnickers either; I am always thrilled to see families sprawled across blankets on the grass, gradually filling up Chancellor Livingston's historic Sheep Fold. By the Time the Providers played, the ground were jam-packed with toddling babies and giggling children. I can't imagine a better sound to have echoing across the park before the fireworks.