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Peekskill Celebration Returns This Weekend

PEEKSKILL -- The city's annual Peekskill Celebration will be held Aug. 5-6 at Peekskill’s Riverfront Green Park. In addition to festival favorites, the celebration this year features a newly expanded kids’ zone with animals from the Yorktown Grange Fair and hot air balloon rides. Admission to the park is free, but the purchase of tickets may be required for some of the attractions and activities.

“Our 15th year is shaping up to be memorable,” said Executive Director Cathy Montaldo. "The opening of Peekskill Landing, adjacent to Peekskill Riverfront Green Park, allows us to expand our kids’ offerings this year. Join us as we celebrate Peekskill's rich maritime past and the city’s present day diversity.”

Celebration weekend kicks off on Friday, Aug. 5 at 5 p.m. when food, arts and crafts, and exhibitor booths open. Friday night’s Main Stage Reggae Dance Party starts at 6 p.m. and features the band “Under the Rasta Influence” with opening act “Third Wave Bandits.” The Reggae Dance Party is sponsored by the Plumbers, Steamfitters and HVACR Service Union Local 21. Immediately following the concert, an illuminated parade of boats from the Peekskill Yacht Club will parade into Peekskill Bay and then back to the club.

Festivities on Saturday, Aug. 6, start early with the Jan Peek 10K Race and Fun Walk at 7:45 a.m. Race applications and registration fees are available on line at the celebration website. The Elton Brand Youth Basketball Clinic starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Peekskill High School Doors open at 10 a.m. Sponsored by the Elton Brand Foundation, youth ages 7-15 are invited to participate in the 30-minute clinic, conducted by Peekskill Basketball Coach Lou Panzanaro. Pre-registration is strongly recommended; applications available online at the celebration website.

The colorful and competitive dragon boat races start promptly at 9 a.m. and can be viewed from shore at Peekskill Riverfront Green Park. Teams made up of local businesses, non-profit groups and master division dragon boaters scream across the surface of the Hudson River, aiming to have the best finish times. Dragon Boats are colorful, 41-feet-long and can hold more than 20 paddlers, a steersperson and drummer.

“We have shortened the day a bit for the dragon boaters without lessening the fun and competition,” Montaldo said. “All teams will race at least twice, giving them time to enjoy everything else the celebration has to offer and we expect the races to be completed by about 1 p.m.”

The Cancer Awareness race is scheduled to take place at about 12:30 p.m. and is sponsored by Drum Hill Senior Living and the Hudson Valley Hospital Center. Teams made up of cancer survivors, family members, friends, support staff and caregivers race in memory of survivors and those who lost their battle to cancer. A rose ceremony will follow immediately after the race, sponsored by Serv Pro of Peekskill/Ossining, where paddlers and those gathered on shore cast remembrance roses onto the surface of the water. The awards ceremony will be held under the willow trees near the dock at the conclusion of the races.

Starting at 11 a.m. food, arts and crafts, and exhibitor booths will be open. Visitors are encouraged to stop by the Bucketful of History area where Peekskill resident and educator Jim Taylor and a group of historical re-enactors and skilled craftsmen demonstrate the trades and crafts of Colonial America. Visit the community booths and participate in scheduled activities throughout the day. Stop by the Yorktown Grange Fair exhibit, ride a hot air balloon, hang out in the kids zone. There will be music and entertainment for every palate on the main stage. Check the celebration’s website for a complete schedule of talent appearances. New York Uproar, a powerful jazz ensemble, is the main stage opening act, expects to take the stage at 8 p.m. just prior to the Entergy Fireworks Extravaganza which will be at about 9:15 p.m. The fireworks will be simulcast on WHUD Radio, 100.7 FM. Garden State Fireworks will present their pre-eminent pyrotechnics display again this year, which can viewed from Riverfront Green, Charles Point and from much of the surrounding area. Entergy is underwriting the fireworks display for the 15th year in a row. Free shuttle bus service will be available from Charles Point and Downtown Peekskill and runs from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday and from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Sponsors include Entergy, Plumbers, Steamfitters and HVACR Service Union Local 21, the Mechanical Contractors Association of the Hudson Valley, the City of Peekskill, D. Bertoline and Sons, Inc., Wheelabrator and BASF. Dozens of other area businesses support Celebration through paid advertising and by providing in-kind services.

For a complete up-to-date schedule of events, applications, fees and registration requirements for some activities, go to www.peekskillcelebration.com .

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