Our festival would not have been possible without the help of Eeo Stubblefield (chairperson of the Phonecia, N.Y. chapter) who directed and partook of the parade/rally. Also there needs to be notable mention to the 7-8 other members who were instrumental in posting signs, making financial contributions, networking, writing letters to the editors, recruiting volunteers for the rally/festival, giving their ideas and constructive critiquing during the planning stages of the events,cooking meals for the event and of course donating their time and personal belongings to the actual event. My thanks to all of you for a wonderful job.
The rally/festival started the night before (Thursday, October 5th)with all of the stagehands setting up all the sound systems and stage equippment. On the 5th our chapter members started to show up at about 10AM to help with setting up tables, carnival booths (“Torture Bush for the Truth Booth” with paint filled balloons being thrown at likeness of Bush and his cabinet members, sign making and costume making booths for the impending evening “Masquerade Sidewalk Parade” through the city of New Paltz), the concession stands as well as the informational booths. The event ran from 11AM to 10PM. The event was situated in Hasbrouck Park strategically located adjacent to the grounds of the SUNY New Paltz College Campus. The weather was partly cloudy and comfortably in the 60s. During the coarse of the day there was a counter-rally of about a half-dozen New Paltz College Young Republicans but they were of no consequence. WCW sold water/food/ and tickets at one of our booths and raffled off the paint smattered canvas product from the “Torture Bush for the Truth” booth. We had about a dozen organizations show up to diseminate their information including Wesley Clark for 2008, the Green Party, Veterans for Peace, etc.
We had dozens of solo, duet and band performances throughout the day. We had preminent local speakers talk to the masses at our rally from about 1-4pm including Susan Zimet who is running for N.Y. State Senate, U.S. House of Representatives Maurice Hinchey, and Dennis Morriseau, a lieutenant from the Vietnam era who refused to serve in Vietnam, was court-martialed and ultimately beat the Army’s prosecution against him.
At approximately 5pm Eeo Stubblefield held a teach-in in her colonial era costume to demonstrate to the audience how to “kvetch” or complain and whine about the Bush Administation or whatever they wanted to as a build-up to the “Masquerade side-walk parade” where everyone dressed up in all forms of costumes, carried signs and played musical instruments. Everyone came back to the park at dusk for hours of conversing, band playing etc. and dinner.
There were at least four videographers on hand to cover many of the speakers and get a handle on how the participants felt about Bush and the direction of our country. The mood was very peaceful and went on without incident. There were approximately a half-dozen newpaper outlets on hand to cover the event including the Poughkeepsie Journal and the Times Herald Record as well as an unexpected visit from Time Warner Channel 6 with a T.V. reporter who conducted hours of interviews and live footage of events. Incidentally, I have been in touch with the Channel 6 reporter and the videographers to compile their raw and edited versions so our chapters can proceed with getting one cumulative edited version which will within a few days be sent to National for dissemination over the internet as well as via television outlets.
The event was estimated to have approximately between 600-700 participants coming and going throughout the day with a peak of approximately 325 participants at 2:30 PM when U.S. Congressman Hinchey addressed the public.
Overall, the day went very well and it was enjoyable for everyone to talk to eachother about the importance of what we were doing,