If you pass by Wampus Brook Park in Armonk early this week and notice some activity, including a variety of amusement park rides coming into town, that must mean it’s time for the 45th Armonk Lions Fol-de-Rol.
While the event, held in early June every year, is mostly fun and games for those who stop by the park starting Thursday evening and continuing through the weekend, it’s a serious undertaking for the Lions Club. It’s the service organization’s lone fundraiser of the year and represents the only chance for the Lions to raise money and make important contributions to local causes and organizations, said Anthony Baratta, co-chair of the Fol-de-Rol.
“We get four days to try to make our money to help the charitable causes and we do the best we can,” Baratta said.
Over the years, proceeds from the Fol-de-Rol have been contributed to organizations such as Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Autism Speaks and Meals on Wheels along with helping to fund the command center for the North Castle Citizen Corps Council (NC4) at the town’s emergency shelter at Hergenhan Recreation Center, he said.
Typically, six to 10 organizations are helped each year from the event ranging in contributions between $500 and $1,000 to several thousand dollars, Baratta said.
Scholarships for two deserving seniors from Byram Hills High School and a scholarship for children from needy families to attend the town camp are also funded, said event co-chair Anita Cozza. In addition, contributions are made to the Lions Clubs International Foundation, which helps with disaster relief and health screenings for people in need.
Cozza said the field near Wampus Elementary School where the amusement rides, food and games are set up becomes a gathering place for youngsters and their families. However, the success of the Fol-de-Rol hinges on the weather, she said.
“We’re very, very dependent on the weather because if the weather isn’t good, we don’t make any money, and if we don’t make any money, we can’t donate to these organizations,” Cozza said.
The festivities start Thursday evening with rides, games, food, entertainment and a raffle from 6 to 10 p.m. It continues on Friday evening, when F&F Productions joins the fun with their racing pigs.
The big day is Saturday, the first of two days where visitors can browse through the craft vendors area, starting at 10 a.m., followed by the opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. At noon, the rides re-open and the fair operates until 10 p.m.
Sunday is the final day from 12 to 5 p.m. with more rides, games, food and vendors.
Baratta said that two bands will be playing on Saturday and Sunday, including the local band Group Therapy at the elementary school grounds, as well as Orville Davis and the Wild Bunch Band in Wampus Brook Park. Group Therapy will be performing from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday while Orville Davis can be seen from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
The H.C. Crittenden Middle School Band will also be playing on Sunday from 12 to 1 p.m.
For those who love old cars, the Fol-de-Rol will feature an antique car show at Wampus Elementary School from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Whether young or old, there promises to be something fun for everybody at the Fol-de-Rol this weekend, but without the volunteers from the Lions Club and the community, it could never be held, Baratta said.
“I can’t say more than the people who work on this,” he said. “They step up without anybody having to ask them.”
Wampus Brook Park is located on Maple Avenue in Armonk.