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City Budget Cuts Doom 2013 Peekskill Celebration

Dragon Boat racers at the 2012 Peekskill Celebration.
Dragon Boat racers at the 2012 Peekskill Celebration. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. ? The 2013 Peekskill Celebration has been canceled due to the city's budget cuts, according to the event's organizer.

The following statement was released by Executive Director Cathy Montaldo Friday on the Peekskill Celebration Facebook page.

"We are notifying interested parties, supporters, sponsors and friends today that we will NOT be able to present Peekskill Celebration 2013.

Perhaps you volunteered your time, took an ad in our journal, sponsored a Dragon Boat tea ... signed on to be a vendor, or simply came to the Riverfront Green to watch the fireworks. Whatever level of support you gave us, first and foremost, we want to say thank you. Recently, we were informed of the City of Peekskill’s financial challenges and that tough budget cuts associated with personnel/overtime expenses for special events like Peekskill Celebration became necessary. We respect these difficult decisions, but the complexity of Peekskill Celebration requires logistical support services that can be coordinated and provided only by the City and its workforce. We are very thankful for the City’s past support. We have explored all of our options to replace the funding and personnel removed from the 2013 City Budget needed for Celebration. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to raise the additional funds needed to cover these expenses, especially on such a condensed timeline. We also do not want to pare down Celebration so much that it would be a disappointment to the community compared to last year. We would rather have our successful run of 17 years be what people fondly remember. Celebration’s legacy is that we all partnered together to provide a safe and spirited environment in which to enjoy a weekend of family-oriented activities at our beautiful waterfront. The addition of the Cancer Awareness Dragon Boat Race put a human face on this dreaded disease, while the Entergy Fireworks Extravaganza became a crowd favorite, attracting many to the Peekskill shoreline. Both provided memorable moments that we can cherish forever. We know that you share our disappointment with this decision. We are proud of our accomplishments over the last 17 years and want to thank you for your support and for the many friends we have made along our journey"

Acting city manager Brian Havranek released the following statement through the city's public relations firm Friday evening:

“We’re saddened to hear that Peekskill Celebration will be cancelled this year and hope the organization will deepen its support to reopen in the future," Havranek said. “Mayor Foster and I had plans to meet with organizers next week to explore resource options. We’re deeply disappointed that the meeting now won’t occur.”

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