By Barbara Mellon

WOW! Not even access to a hotline to the big man upstairs could have secured a more perfect day for this year’s Andes Community Day. Sunny & warm with the occasional gentle breeze. Ideal!

Tireless Dot Andrews once again pulled together an exciting and varied parade, with so many wonderful entries that the judges had a hard time making their selections. In the end, the following prizes were awarded. For cars, first place went to Jim DeWitt, with Marty Liddle at second and Cliff Haug at third. In the horse category, Nancy Brust took first place with her herd ridden by beautifully costumed riders. A close second went to Denise Norris riding Epona, followed by an annual favorite, Steve Williamson. The quaintly attired group from Clementine Vintage Clothing took first and the Delhi Cub Scouts second in the marchers category, and first place for a float went to Ralph VanZandt, with Mary Vandenberg at second. Both pulled barrel trains full of children.  The marching band of Allen Residential took first to the Stamford Fire Department’s second, and first and second queens were Corinne Bishop and Katy Barnhart. All the participating fire departments and equipment were as spiffy as usual. The first place for antique fire equipment went to Dave Mueller, followed by Bob Ray, and the Delhi Fire Department won the award for Best Appearing – Dress, while Stamford took the prize for Best Appearing – Sport. Beaverkill Valley went home with two awards, one for Most in Line and the other for Farthest Traveled.

For the remainder of the day, the streets were filled with folks strolling from one end of our little hamlet to the other. Local shops, lawn sales, and the vendors at the school caught the attention of those always on the lookout for the perfect purchase. Business was brisk enough that one vendor asked if it were possible to book a space now for next year. Games for children and adults were set up both at the school and on Main Street. Laughter was the order of the day as fun seekers “doused the clown” or “painted the man”. Beautiful mermaids handed out prizes to those who tried their hand at “Go Fish”, and all the young participants of the Spoon & Egg game, Sack Race, and Balloon Toss had big smiles on their faces.

On Redden Lane, Weathertite Home Improvement was sponsoring a Horseshoe Tournament. Twelve teams participated, vying for the plaques donated by Bob Armstrong of the Delaware National Bank of Delhi. At the end of the afternoon, Bill Day and Tom Lamondes walked away with the first prize, Sue Temple and Jim Krebser Jr. came in second, and George Harageones and Mike McAdams took third. The winner of the 50/50 raffle was Penny Harageones.

At the Hunting Tavern Museum, the Andes Society for History & Culture once again served up a delicious lunch of Bratwurst and Beer. This meal is such a favorite that one of the volunteers serving barbeque chicken at the school had to sneak away to make sure he got his fill, while another had his wife bring the tasty dish to him. Those interested in how things used to be done in the old days were treated to demonstrations of wood boring, and cupcake decorating was available for the children. Next to the Tavern, Denise Norris showed off her horse Epona, possibly the world’s largest mare, and introduced an adorable young filly named Fatima, rescued and up for adoption through Equine Rescue Resources and Catskill Equine Rescue. While at the Tavern, Fatima stole someone’s heart, and will soon be making her home with Vera and Don Liddle.

The Andes Public Library held their annual Community Day Book Sale, offering hundreds of slightly used, donated volumes at bargain prices. They also introduced the hot-off-the-presses Andes International Cookbook; Serve it with Flair, an immediate best seller.

Bohlmann Park was the site of a number of the afternoon’s events. Doting parents, grandparents, and pet owners brought their infants, dogs, and even one very good looking turtle to the annual Beautiful Baby and Pet Contests, MC’d by Peter Schjeldahl. Story Laurie McIntosh used this choice spot beside the stream to entertain a sizable group with her stories and songs of the Natural World, and then later Lee Melahn hosted the very messy but marvelous watermelon eating contest.

There was more music available further down Main Street and at the school. Henry Hermann’s fiddling began on the porch of the Andes Hotel, but he managed to wander down the steps to the street to draw folks over to hear his tunes. Rob Laing and Country Express performed at the school’s Gazebo, and the Schoharie County Cloggers showed off their fancy footwork. Long a local favorite, Country Express later played at the Fire Hall Pavilion, following a sold-out barbeque pork dinner.

What a wonderful day it was. I’m not sure how many people who get out and enjoy the festivities realize how much work goes into putting on the event. Hardworking volunteers from community groups and local businesses begin planning months in advance. As a member of the Community Day Committee, I’d like to thank the following groups for their efforts: the Andes Advertising Group, the Andes Fire Department and Auxiliary, the Andes Society for History & Culture, the Andes Public Library, and the Andes Presbyterian Church. In addition, the New York State Department of Transportation and CCI Companies worked hard to get the road and sidewalks in the center of town ready for the celebration. They even rushed to remove the silt barriers at the school so the vendors could set up their booths. Their assistance is greatly appreciated.

Personally, I’d also like to recognize and thank the following people, all of whom went above and beyond to present this event to the Community. First, Sally O’Neill, who worked on so many aspects of the day, from securing financial and merchandise donations to setting up print and radio advertising to organizing the children’s games. Keeping all the details together, her ideas and expertise were instrumental to the day’s success. Next, Dot Andrews, who never lets anyone down. She worked tirelessly to get the parade set up, arranged judges and public address systems as well as lots of other little details.  Don Hogan donated all manner of things for the day, and was there to help with last minute forgotten items. Bill Day & Laurie Little pulled together the Horseshoe Tournament, so well received that it will hopefully become an annual Community Day event. Brooke Alderson of Brooke’s Variety, Scott and Erica Hill of Delaware Trading Post, and Lee Melahn and Rick Shaver of Mercantile took it upon themselves to supply the wonderful games and entertainment in the center of town. Mary Tucker handled the daunting task of dealing with flea market vendors, many of whom wait until the very last minute to sign up. And lastly, Phyllis Kochersberger. From early on Saturday morning, she extended herself to everyone at the school grounds, helping in any and every way she could. These and many others are examples of what makes Andes a community worth having a day to celebrate itself. Thank you all. ~