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Brian Parkhurst from Hudson Valley Reptiles and Rescue holds an 18-year-old Ball Piper snake as children get to experience what a snake feels like at the Stissing Center on Saturday, Sept. 9, part of the Pine Plains Bicentennial Community Day celebration. Photo by Judith O’Hara Balfe

A day to remember for the next 200 years

PINE PLAINS —  From the fact that everything was free, to the variety of offerings available, the town’s bicentennial Community Day on Saturday, Sept. 9, was a day for the community to boast of for many years to come.

After a pancake breakfast at the firehouse, many went to the Community Zone at the American Legion. Two bounce houses were kept bouncing, and volunteers were continuously getting dunked by youngsters, who loved the idea that they could dunk a grown-up into a tub of water.

It was also a day to remember the town’s history. Close to the Legion area, many chose to honor the veterans at Evergreen Cemetery, and they spent time working with VFW Post 5519 in cleaning tombstones. Also honoring the town’s history, behind the Legion area, the Graham-Brush House had a busy day offering old-time fiddle music, refreshments, and a monologue by Thayer Durrell as Alfred Brush. 

Dutchess County historian Will Tatum spoke regarding the history of Pine Plains. A time capsule, put together at the Stissing Center, was delivered to the Graham-Brush House site, ready for burial.

The intersection of Main Street and Route 82 was bustling as local businesses got involved in the festivities. On the corner, the Bank of Millbrook did a brisk business, blowing up and handing out balloons, blue piggy banks, and pencils. The balloons could be seen bobbing along the avenues in every direction.

Across the street at the town park, people gathered to eat, converse and enjoy the weather, which turned out to be sunny and just a bit hot. Many people carried loaded plates from restaurants, finding shady places in which to relish the treats.

By the Stissing Center offices, music was heard throughout the day. Benches were placed on the lawn area, and many chose to take a break from their wanderings to listen to a few tunes from whichever music was being played. One musician in particular was well-liked; Brandon Stoner did a great segment including some Bob Dylan, a crowd favorite.

At the Stissing Center, there was a reptile story time followed by an exhibit with real reptiles. Brian Parkhurst of Hudson Valley Reptile and Rescue in Saugerties had an array of snakes, lizards, a snapping turtle and others in the reptile family. After the presentation, the audience, made up of all ages, but especially loved by the enormous group of youngsters present, was invited to meet one of the larger snakes, and to actually touch it.

Downstairs at the Center, corn husk dolls were being made by volunteers from the library, and children were enthralled as they learned the steps to creating their own dolls.

Right next to those tables was a table that took pictures and facilitated note writing, all of which would be put into the time capsule that was buried near the Graham-Brush House later in the day. A great many people stopped by, wanting to be a part of this new historical marker to be left for future generations, some singly, some as families. The Pine Plains Library co-sponsored these events with the Stissing Center.

For those who had the energy, and there were many, the celebration continued with more music at the Stissing Center office porch, then at the back Bar Beer Garden where the Red Barn Band played from 6 to 8 p.m.

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