Copake gets ready for Bicentennial season and Roe Jan Historical Society plans 50th

Nick Fritsch of the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society makes a last minute check of one of the exhibits of Mementoes, Maps and Milestones: Copake at 200, which opens at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, at the Society museum at 8 Miles Road in Copake Falls. His focus is a “Child’s Concealment Shoe” donated by Marybeth and Gerald Ketz which, following centuries old European tradition, was built into the wall of a house in Craryville in the mid 19th century to ward off evil spirits.

Lesley Doyel

Copake gets ready for Bicentennial season and Roe Jan Historical Society plans 50th

COPAKE — A trip down memory lane with plenty of celebration along the way is part of Copake’s season of history as the town marks it’s Bicentennial and the 50th anniversary of the Roeliff Janson Historical Society.

The observation was kicked off with three lectures at the Society, a musical “Your Town,” and three historical lectures at the Copake Grange 935 with another planned for Saturday, July 20 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

Coming events include a pre-registered children’s Rail Trail Art Project on Saturday, July 6 from 10 a.m. at the Pavillion in Taconic State Park in Copake Falls.

An extensive three -month- long exhibit titled Memento, Maps and Milestones: Copake at 200 will open that day at 2 p.m. at the Historical Society at the old Methodist Church on 8 Miles Road in Copake Falls.

A “Come Home to Copake” picnic at the Copake Memorial Park on Saturday July 13 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. will be open to any Copake residents - past and present. It will feature live music, an art exhibit, a vintage car show, a hot dog eating competition and a desert baking contests judged by Copake’s Nancy Fuller of the Food Network. According to BiCentenial Committee Head Kellie Nardin, families may bring their own food or pre-purchase chicken Bar-B-Q from the Copake Fire Department.

Aug. 17 will bring evening activities at Catamount following a 3 p.m. parade which Nardin believes will be one of the county’s largest with seven fire departments and 25 floats and long time Copake supporters Flora Bergquist, Edgar Masters, Angelo Valantino and Vana Hotaling honored as Grand Marshals.

Beyond those day long events, the Historical Society exhibit will be open weekends through Oct. 6 with something for all ages. President Lesley Doyel said the exhibit, taking a year and a half to create, contains the Society’s own collection of photos, paintings, and historic objects as well as numerous items on loan from residents, including Mike Fallon of Copake Actions and his family.

The exhibit also features painstakingly created commentaries of town’s history beginning with the Mohican origins of the area including the name “Achkoopeck” which translated as Snake Pond. Eventually, the town was named Copake Iron in recognition of that key industry which attracted workers and led to the growth of the town. With the passing of that business, “Iron” was dropped from the name in an effort to boost tourism.

Both Nardin and Doyel emphasized that the celebration is a cooperative effort with organizations such as The Copake Grange, the Iron Works Museum, numerous businesses and residents.

Doyel said much of the work for the exhibit was done by a “core group” consisting of graphic artist Nick Fritsch, master builder Bob Callahan, Robin Bruce, Jane Peck, Richard Barton, Ron Ottenson, Cheryl Benken, Milbrey Zelley and Mike Stanke, with Janet Mackin and Catherine Mikic from the Grange.

Nardin explained that the whole project was aided by current town supervisor and liaison Richard Wolf and previous supervisor Jeanne Mettler who “was there from the beginning.” In addition to all of the above, the following members of the Bicentennial Committee took leads or worked on various elements of the events: Liana Gaston, Winette Edge, Maryanne Fallon, Lindsay LeBrecht, Cyd McDowell, Roberta Roll, Heather Thomson, and Gina White.

For more information, write to copakebicentennial@gmail.com.

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