Eli Ruiz | Democrat
Before the untimely rains came last Sunday, people walked on the closed off portion of Broadway in Monticello to gaze at classic and antique cars, sample the food, browse the vending stalls and watch boxing, dancing and martial arts demonstrations. The Monticello Fire Department’s giant flag dominates the view while at left, a man takes photos of noted Monticello trucker Hank Good’s two tractors, including his “Hank’s Highway Hilton” at far left.
Monticello has its day
By Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO Village businesses were well represented. Local officials were on hand as were several community organizations. Unfortunately, the band didn’t show up, and due to the persistent rains, most village and Sullivan County residents didn’t either.
A few brave souls literally weathered the intermittent downpours Sunday to attend the inaugural Monticello Day street fair on Broadway, which doubled as a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the paving of Broadway in the village.
Opening ceremonies kicked off with a welcome from local businessman Les Kristt, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance by the venerable Judge Josephine Finn.
Village historian, Tom Rue, spoke before presenting a special anniversary award to the village commemorating the Broadway paving. “Broadway is a small part of a highway that was the economic engine during Sullivan County’s earliest years, stretching from Newburgh on the Hudson River, all the way to the upper Delaware at Cochecton.
“Called Main Street in its first century, it is a one-mile stretch of the Newburgh Cochecton Turnpike,” explained Rue.
Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins who had a big hand in planning the event could not attend as he and Deputy Mayor TC Hutchins were on a flight to Africa where they will be traveling to several villages in an apparent information exchange initiative.
After a brief history lesson, Rue ceded the stage to Albee Bochman who proudly directed the small audience to the massive American flag hanging front and center off a long fire truck ladder on Broadway before his stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
Linda Cellini was representing Senator John Bonacic at the event, and representing Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther was her Chief of Staff, Allison Horan, who thanked those who made it out for the celebration.
The Sullivan County Organized Recreation and Sports organization (SCORS) was raising money for its mission to keep youth off the streets through involvement in sports and activities. The SCORS folks even had their cheerleaders perform a choreographed dance routine that drew much applause from the audience.
“We built this organization from the ground up for the purpose of keeping our youngsters off these streets and involved in sports and activities… these kids need an outlet, activities to participate in and to learn the importance of community service,” said SCORS Commissioner Randy Richards.
Monticello Mixed Martial Arts of Monticello’s Sensei Michael Perez along with Joel Rodriguez and Brett Hughes put on an impressive and acrobatic demonstration that showcased the trios’ skill and agility and stamina.
Sullivan County Historian John Conway presented an informative history lesson to onlookers and passersby on the reconstruction of Broadway after the massive fire of 1909.
And several other live demonstrations, Sullivan County Legislator Alan Sorensen filled the void left by the no-show band with a few songs. Most notable was Sorenson’s original song called “Free,” which was written by the politician as a tribute to the astronauts lost in the space shuttle Columbia disaster.
Although attendance lagged, Monticello Day was declared an overall success by most with Wurtsboro resident R.D. Bertucci saying, “Hey, with weather like this I didn’t really expect there to be a very big turnout, but I really had a great time today and I’m sure that had mother nature been a bit more cooperative Broadway would have been packed out.
“Here’s to a sunny day next year,” he added.