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August 29, 2014
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Festivals and battles and tours—oh my!

Roan Gillingham (right) and friend brought history to life during the re-enactment of scenes from the Battle of Minisink at Minisink Ford, NY at a commemorative event last weekend.


With one history lesson under my belt, I fastened in and took the scenic route along the Delaware, through Barryville, NY to take a seat with friends, neighbors and countrymen at the Minisink Battleground Park, as Sullivan County historian John Conway joined antique munitions expert Tony Domingo and costumed re-enactors Kai Moessle and Jim Macarille in a presentation describing the battle in vivid detail. Fought at Minisink Ford on July 22, 1779, the battle of Minisink was the only major skirmish fought in the northern Delaware Valley, and was a “decisive British victory, as the colonial militia was hastily assembled, ill-equipped and inexperienced” (www.wikipedia.org). Prior to the annual ceremony of prayer and dedications held on site, the lecture and Q & A session that followed included hands-on artifact display, and included some fascinating weapons demonstrations by Domingo. Barryville’s Debra Conway and Livingston Manor’s Iris Gillingham participated in the re-enacting portion of the ceremony, joined by a dozen or so others, including several kids and young adults, who really helped make the entire story come alive.

I spent a few hours at the park, and was awestruck by its beauty (had never been before). Chatting with the Conways, I couldn’t help but remark on that, and the sheer delight that I feel when discovering yet another incredible gem here in the neighborhood that may be old to many, but is “something new” for others like me. As I made my way home I debated with myself over the pros and cons of taking Dharma (the wonder dog) along for the ride over to Narrowsburg for perennial favorite RiverFest. She cocked her head and chided me, reminding me that there would be (as always) a canine parade and that her presence would be sorely missed. Feeling properly chastised, I scooped her up and off we went. While it could be perceived as slightly biased (The River Reporter calls Narrowsburg home), my love affair with this picturesque, historical town (and festival) is genuine. Main Street was decked out in all its glory, and teeming with activity.