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Is Back On

By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO — February 6, 2004 – Monticello’s Bicentennial Committee was rejuvenated Wednesday by 40-50 people, including political leaders, community activists, and business owners who came to make sure that there would be a 200th birthday party in the village.
Les Kristt, chairman of the committee, was happy to see all of the new help, remarking, “This feels like a village meeting. We will try our best to get more people involved.”
The committee announced that the August 26-29 celebrations will feature a parade, a barbecue, a performance by the West Point Band, and possibly fireworks, a major concert event and a carnival.
A bicentennial banner will be hung in front of village hall until the members of the committee can work out a way to put it on Broadway.
The site of the barbecue was selected as the Town of Thompson Park. Although outside the village limits, Kristt said that this site will be the only place the West Point Band can play, since they have already made arrangements to be there for the town’s barbecue.
Town of Thompson Supervisor Anthony Cellini initially arranged for the band to play there for free at the town’s barbecue but agreed to merge that into the village’s celebration.
Vic Gordon wasn’t sure if the town park was the best site, however.
"Many people don’t know where it is," he said.
Gordon was also concerned about transportation. Kristt assured him that the committee will provide rides to the town park.
Carmen Rue and others wanted the barbecue to stay in the village. Kristt said that another positive, aside from the band, was that the park was larger and better for parking than any village facilities. Mayoral candidate Jim Barnicle pointed out that the park’s large shelter area in case of inclement weather is another advantage.
Mayor Gary Sommers asked that events continue inside the village after the barbecue. One idea was to hold a concert and fireworks celebration at the Monticello Raceway one evening.
This idea ran into a bit of trouble when Regina Hensley, marketing coordinator for the Raceway, informed the group that the building would be restricted to a 21-and-over crowd due to the Video Lottery Terminals that are scheduled to be installed by this summer.
Village Attorney Michael Davidoff asked that the committee speak with Cliff Ehrlich of the raceway and see if there could be an accommodation for people who wanted to watch the celebration outside.
Davidoff said, "It is important that everybody can come to the event" like the sesquicentennial celebration 50 years ago.
Bob Burger, chaplain for the Monticello Elks, cautioned against holding celebrations on Saturday night.
"Saturday night is family night," he said.
He mentioned how his son just came back from Iraq, and how he didn’t have a lot of time to spend with his family when he arrived.
Burger said he was also working on arranging a carnival across the street from where the Elks meet in Monticello (North Street).
Kristt asked Burger to arrange for a beard-growing contest like one the village had 50 years ago. Several members of the audience expressed fond memories of that event.
Kristt said a family day might happen at DeHoyas Park inside the village boundaries. However, the committee did not go into the details of that event.
Kristt also canceled an antique car show planned for the weekend of the celebration, unless there were objections. The chairman said that in its replacement, people with antique cars will be allowed to drive their vehicles down Broadway for the parade.
As for the financial wherewithal to hold the celebrations, Kristt said that a journal would be printed with paid advertisements.
The chairman added, "I am putting my money where my mouth is" and announced that his store, Kristt Company, would buy a $1,000 ad in the journal. Emil Motl, owner of Gusar’s Pharmacy, topped that off with a $1,500 donation.
The journal will feature a written and pictorial history of Monticello and will be sold for $5. Other financial contributions will come from the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, who will be in charge of the barbecue.
Kristt announced that he will be accepting memorabilia and old photos at his store on Broadway. These will be used for the journal, floats, and a possible village museum.
He also wants all of the local fire departments to participate in the August 28 parade, in addition to area school bands and the Boy and Girl Scouts.
A new village clock will be donated by the Monticello Rotary Club on the day of the parade.

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