By Katie Beckmann Mahon, Communications Manager
Over the past few months, the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York, have had to cancel several events that many of us were eager to attend.
One of those events was the 70th Annual Autumn Festival, which was supposed to occur on Saturday, September 26, 2020.
As this year’s Festival date comes and goes, Sr. Geraldine Milbert, OP, Congregation Archivist, shared ten historical facts about the Autumn Festival.
The first-ever Autumn Festival was initially known as the annual card party and held at the Hotel Statler on November 18, 1950.
The second annual Autumn Festival occurred in 1951 and marked the first time the Festival location was at the Blauvelt Motherhouse grounds.
In 1954, Hurricane Edna tore through Blauvelt and forced the Sisters of Saint Dominic to postpone the Festival until the next Saturday.
In 1963, the Autumn Festival planning committee had to deal with stringent laws from New York State that prohibited no wheels or games of chance. At the time, Rockland County was rigidly enforcing this law.
At the 1966 Autumn Festival, the Catholic Center for the Blind and the Christ the King and St. Martin de Porres houses had their own booths for the first time.
The 1986 theme of the Autumn Festival was Lady Liberty.
The 1991 Autumn Festival marked the addition of the Associate Booth and the Duck Machine from St. Catharine’s School.
Tropical Storm Danielle hit Blauvelt during the 1992 Autumn Festival and forced the Sisters of Saint Dominic to move indoors to avoid getting wet and ruining prizes.
At the 2001 Autumn Festival, the Sisters of Saint Dominic hosted a Memorial Liturgy to commemorate those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks.
In 2008, the Autumn Festival day was switched from Saturday to Sunday, for the first time since the inaugural Festival. Since then, the Festivals have been held on Saturdays.
Even though this year’s Autumn Festival was postponed, the Sisters of Saint Dominic hope you will join us to celebrate the 70th Autumn Festival on Saturday, September 25, 2021. If you have any questions about the Autumn Festival, please contact Kerrin Kissel, Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.