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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Sullivan County enjoys great Anniversary weekend

100,000 visitors flock to county

By Fred Stabbert III

By: Fred Stabbert III | Democrat
Alpha and Omega Mountain Patrol sent six horses to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts all weekend to help with public safety. The horses are trained to work at mass gatherings and public events. Enjoying a pet of “Titan” before the Carlos Santana concert on Saturday night were, from the left: Kim Darder, Debbie Hornicek, Jeanne Leewe, Judy Qualls, Debbie Graham and Kelsey Hornicek.
BETHEL - After nearly a year of planning Woodstock Weekend is now in the Sullivan County history books.
And by any yardstick, it appears the major events which were held throughout Sullivan County were all well-attended and went off without a hitch.
“We are absolutely thrilled,” Sullivan County Director of Communications Dan Hust said Monday morning. “Our preliminary estimates are that we hosted nearly 100,000 visitors this weekend,” Hust said. “That includes Bethel Woods, Porchfest, Yasgur Farm and Little World's Fair.
“We planned for the worst, hoped for the best and got the best,” Hust summed up.

Sullivan County Commissioner of Public Safety Rick Sauer said the planning process took all of a year.
“We started planning for this a year ago,” Sauer said. “It basically consumed my whole summer. We went from monthly meetings, to weekly meetings to daily phone calls. It was a very good weekend that went much better than expected.”
Both Hust and Sauer lauded local residents who responded to the advice to avoid Route 17B unless they were going to a business, an event or lived there.
“That made a big difference [in keeping the road relatively open],” Sauer said. “The traffic plan was implemented very well by the NYS DOT and State Police.”
One major storyline that popped up was the weather, bringing violent thunderstorms to Sullivan County on both Saturday and Sunday evenings.
“Our fire departments responded to 100 calls within a two-hour period on Sunday night,” Sauer said. “But nothing major happened - no serious injuries and no deaths.”
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts evacuated lawn guests on Sunday afternoon just before 5 p.m. as a heavy downpour and lightning rolled through Sullivan County. The concert was delayed by an hour.
Hust said that more complete figures on attendance will be coming after data from traffic meters across the county are analyzed.
Bethel Woods organizers reported that nearly 45,000 ticketholders attended the four concerts during the weekend celebrations, including Arlo Guthrie, Ringo, Carlos Santana, and John Fogerty.
“After months of planning and preparation, it was incredibly rewarding to see the masses gather on these historic grounds in the name of peace, love and music once again. We maintained the best parts of the monumental event that happened 50 years ago: powerful musical performances, excited guests, the all-important sense of togetherness. With the support from state and local law enforcement, traffic pile-ups were a thing of the past. Though Anniversary Weekend has concluded, Bethel Woods is proud to continue this legacy of community and civility for years to come,” said Darlene Fedun, Chief Executive Officer of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
No deaths related to Woodstock anniversary events were recorded this weekend, and arrests were limited to one domestic-dispute felony, four misdemeanor drug charges, and four violations for trespass and disorderly conduct, according to the State Police.
Porchfest organizer Irene Nickolai said Callicoon was filled to capacity all weekend.
“Porchfest was a great success with three days of music and good business for all of us,” she said. “The Callicoon Brewery told me it was their best days ever, since they opened.
“I would like to say thank you to all the participants in the first annual Callicoon Porchfest. It was my great honor to facilitate this event on behalf of the people of Callicoon, Sullivan County, the surrounding counties and the people who traveled here from afar. It was an amazing success for all involved. Local businesses reported record-breaking earnings and festival goers were thrilled to have had 50 bands to entertain them, food and drink to sustain them and a place to feel the peace and love of this momentous weekend,” Nickolai said.

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