2013-09-26 / News

Jamestown Day at Fort Getty Saturday

By Ken Shane


Above, the Jamestown Community Chorus, with director B.J. Whitehouse strumming the guitar, performs at Jamestown Day 2011. The chorus will sing at this year’s rendition on Saturday at Fort Getty. Above, the Jamestown Community Chorus, with director B.J. Whitehouse strumming the guitar, performs at Jamestown Day 2011. The chorus will sing at this year’s rendition on Saturday at Fort Getty. The tradition of holding an annual Jamestown Day is one that was moribund for more than 20 years. In 2010, however, a nonprofit group called the Friends of Jamestown Youth was established. The members had plans to revive the annual family-friendly community event, and, on Saturday, the fourth edition of the contemporary Jamestown Day will be held at Fort Getty.

Jill Goldstein is the program supervisor for the Parks & Recreation Department and also a board member for the Friends of Jamestown Youth. She says the Friends were formed by a group of likeminded residents who believed the island’s youth needed diverse programming to keep them involved, happy and safe.

The Friends provide activities for youngsters from kindergarten all the way through high school. The group arranges dances, teaches cooking classes, schedules speakers and organizes fundraisers. As an example, a car wash was held in June where teens collected more than $700 for Oklahoma tornado victims. Programs arranged by the Friends are accompanied by school events and town-organized happenings, giving Jamestown’s youth a glut of safe options.

According to Friends President Arlene Petit, the group’s mission is to provide support to the young people by fostering programs that promote positive decision-making. The Friends strive to provide healthy, educational and fun activities for island youngsters and their families.

Petit said the organization offers activities as an alternative to some of the less desirable ones. As an example, she mentioned a supervised trip to Block Island. She said the outing is offered because Jamestown is a somewhat isolated place. According to Petit, it’s important for young people to visit places off the island. The supervi- sion of the Friends on these outof town excursions gives parents a peace of mind.

After deciding it was a good idea to revitalize Jamestown Day in September 2010, members of the Friends began scheduling musical performances and setting up kids games. They also brought in food vendors. Organizers considered the inaugural modern Jamestown Day a success, so they decided to make it annual. Last year, about 250 people of all ages came to the event.

“To me,” said Petit, “this is really one of the major events that is held. The Jamestown youth has a part in this because they work at the event and have fun at the event. One of the objectives of the Friends of Jamestown Youth is to be ambassadors of healthy living. We’re trying to provide events that go along with that.”

Jamestown Day 2013 will be held at Fort Getty on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 5 to 9 p.m. The event is alcohol and drug free. Admission is $5 per person at the gatehouse, and all proceeds will be used to support the Friends’ initiatives. The rain date is the following Saturday.

Among the performers are the community’s band, chorus and theater. Beginning under the pavilion at 5 p.m., the band will play for about 45 minutes, followed by a 30-minute recital by the chorus. After the music, the theater will present a 15-minute performance of excerpts from its upcoming shows.

“It’s a real community event,” Goldstein said. “It brings everyone together for some good old-fashioned fun.”

The event will also feature a nine-hole minigolf course, a bouncy house and a cakewalk. A cakewalk is like musical chairs, but the prizes are cakes baked by members of the community. There will be a pocket-lady game for little children, and bingo as well. Members of the Jamestown Arts Center will be on hand to paint faces, and there will be a police cruiser and fire truck for children to explore.

For food, local restaurants have signed on to participate. Among the vendors will be Freddie’s House of Pizza. There will also be a hot-dog cart, and the East Ferry Deli will provide coffee and hot chocolate.

The performances and games will end when darkness begins to fall. That’s when revelers will leave the pavilion and head up the hill where a large bonfire will be lit. A disc jockey will provide music as people gather around the fire.

Jamestown Day also acts as a recruitment opportunity. The Friends of Jamestown Youth is always looking for more members. Petit said anyone interested in learning more can attend the meetings. They take place on the second Wednesday of every month at the teen center at 6 p.m.

“I think it’s important to get everybody together for something that’s really fun,” Goldstein said. “It has a family-fun atmosphere that kids and parents can enjoy and participate together.”

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