The Northern Westchester Examiner

Financial Woes Force Cancellation of Peekskill Celebration

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Peekskill Celebration 2012
Peekskill Celebration 2012

A 17-year tradition that united city residents and attracted thousands of visitors to Peekskill for a weekend of fun will come to an end at least temporarily in 2013.

Cathy Montaldo, executive director of the Peekskill Celebration, informed supporters and sponsors Friday that the city’s financial struggles, including cuts to personnel and overtime expenses for special events like the Celebration, which over the past few years has been limited to the Riverfront Green, made it impossible for the event to be held this year.

“We respect these difficult decisions, but the complexity of Peekskill Celebration requires logistical support services that can be coordinated and provided only by the city and its workforce,” Montaldo said. “We have explored all of our options to replace the funding and personnel removed from the 2013 City Budget needed for Celebration. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to raise the additional funds needed to cover these expenses, especially on such a condensed timeline. We also do not want to pare down Celebration so much that it would be a disappointment to the community compared to last year. We would rather have our successful run of 17 years be what people fondly remember.”

The Peekskill Celebration originally was staged in several locations in the city with activities and attractions for children and adults. In recent years it was scaled down, but still drew large crowds for such events as the Elton Brand basketball clinic, Dragon Boat races and fireworks extravaganza, sponsored by Entergy.

“Celebration’s legacy is that we all partnered together to provide a safe and spirited environment in which to enjoy a weekend of family-oriented activities at our beautiful waterfront,” Montaldo said. “The addition of the Cancer Awareness Dragon Boat Race put a human face on this dreaded disease, while the Entergy Fireworks Extravaganza became a crowd favorite, attracting many to the Peekskill shoreline. Both provided memorable moments that we can cherish forever.”

“We know that you share our disappointment with this decision. We are proud of our accomplishments over the last 17 years and want to thank you for your support and for the many friends we have made along our journey,” she added.

Acting City Manager Brian Havranek issued a statement pertaining to Peekskill Celebration’s decision to cancel its 2013 event.

“We’re saddened to hear that Peekskill Celebration will be cancelled this year and hope the organization will deepen its support to reopen in the future,” he said.  “Mayor Foster and I had plans to meet with organizers next week to explore resource options. We’re deeply disappointed that the meeting now won’t occur.”

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