The event was the brainchild of Irvington Mayor Brian Smith, who came up with the idea just six weeks prior.
“It’s a beautiful park that we don’t, quite frankly, use enough, said Smith. "So I said, ‘Why don’t we bring a little music and a little fun to the park.”
And much fun was had at the Hudson River waterfront’s Matthiessen Park between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, since the rain thankfully stopped just before the event started.
Dozens of children were running around and playing, while their parents enjoyed the “beer garden,” a roped off area where adults enjoy some suds from Captain Lawrence Brewery of Elmsford.
A line-up of eight bands played, including headliners Gil Parris & Friends and the U2 cover band Unforgettable Fire, while local eateries fed festival-goers.
The Irvington Fundraising and Community Events (F.A.C.E.) Commitee collected suggested donations of $10 per person or $25 per family at the event’s entrance, which will benefit programs of the Irvington Parks and Recreation program.
Platinum, gold and silver sposnors helped to fund the event along with the Village of Irvington and the F.A.C.E. Committee
Village Administrator Larry Schopfer estimated that about 500 people had attended mid-way through the event.
Smith expects the event's costs will in the very least “break even,” and was hopeful that some funds would be raised for recreation department initiatives, like day camp scholarships for children or funding additional use of the senior citizens van.
The mayor was pleased with the turnout considering the poor weather earlier in the day and hoped that attendance would grow close to 1,000 people by the day's end.
“What’s most rewarding to me isn’t the beer garden or people listening to the bands, but I saw hundreds of kids just playing on the playground, it was just so much fun seeing that,” said Smith.
The sun did eventually come out, offering extra warmth to neighbors and families, like the Henry’s who sat on a blanket and enjoyed food from Zarrilli’s Deli of Irvington.
“We came out to support the community,” said Judd Henry, who attended the event with wife Iris and their two children Jordan and Silas.
“We moved to Irvington a year ago and we are very happy. We wanted to come out and enjoy the day with our family and friends. I’m glad the weather cleared up. The band is terrific, and we’re having a blast.”
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