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Ossining Celebrates Its History At Harborfest

Crowds gather at the Ossining Dock and Harbor Square for the first Harborfest, part of the village's Bicentennial celebration.
Crowds gather at the Ossining Dock and Harbor Square for the first Harborfest, part of the village's Bicentennial celebration. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Ossining continued its celebration of its first 200 years Saturday with the first Harborfest at the Ossining Dock and Harbor Square.

Hundreds gathered by the waterfront for music, food, art, sailing, fishing and lessons in Ossining history. Visitors were able to tour and sail on the historical Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, one of the first sailing ships in the country to provide science-based environmental education.

There were several local food vendors, as well as beer and wine tasting, rock climbing, eight live music acts beginning with the Ossining-based Mike Risko Band. Artists were able to set up an let the scenery inspire new works, which were shown and auctioned off later in the afternoon.

There were plenty of opportunities for those looking to learn more about the history of Ossining, which is celebrating its Bicentennial this year. Aboard the covered barge Pennsy 399 were several historical presentations, including a history of Sing Sing Prison, a talk on wildlife in the Hudson River, and a photo exhibit and talk by Town Historian Martha Mesiti. Members of the Ossining Bicentennial Committee were selling several keepsakes and memorabilia celebrating the village's 200th birthday.

"This is a win-win for people to come out and enjoy themselves in Ossining," said Robert Herber of the Bicentennial Committee. He said the event was a great showcase of Ossining's history and all that it had to offer. "We're moving in the right direction, and I think the fact that so many people are here is evidence of that."

The Ossining Boat and Canoe Club hosted several activities, including kayaking, fishing and seineing. Kids and families were able to catch perch, eel, snappers, striped bass, shrip and crabs. Vice-Commodore of the Club Liz Feldman said that the club likes participating in events like the Harborfest.

"We try to do a lot of outreach to the community. We're very community-based, everybody's always working together," she said. Every year the club, which is almost 100 years old, hosts toy drives, historical lectures, clam bakes, and Fourth of July events. The club works with the Ossining Recreation Department to host sailing programs for any resident in town who wants to learn how to sail. She said that water activities and the boat clubs are part of what make Ossining so unique.

"I don't think there's any other towns that have access to the water like Ossining."

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