The Cow Neck Peninsula Country Fair was held at the Sands-Willets House on Port Washington Boulevard on Sept. 11. According to fair goers, young and old, this year's annual country fair was the best ever! It was most enjoyable with something for everyone.
Port Washington Teachers Association representatives were present at the gate to greet the public and provide information. A table was set up at the entrance in remembrance of the four Schreiber graduates who lost their lives during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack: Olga K. Osterholm, class of 1953; Jeffrey Le Veen, class of 1964; Martin Demeo, class of 1972; and John Salerno, class of 1988. A memorial garden at Schreiber is being planned in their honor with the help of donations.
Eleven-year old Shane Higgins, a student at Weber, commented "The fair was exciting and interesting! I was amazed there was so much to do and see." Many new and different attractions were added this year. However, the petting zoo, a gift to the children from Amy and Horace Hagedorn, was still the most popular in drawing crowds to feed the animals. The 1939 John Deere Tractor, where children posed for photographs, along with the vintage trucks added to the atmosphere. Throughout the day music was performed in the 17th century Dutch barn including entertainment by the Long Island Harmonica Club and Spin Drifters spinning familiar folk tunes. People enjoyed themselves while shopping, browsing and visiting attractions resembling life of another era.
Inside the old barn, examples of fine woodcarving were demonstrated by Judy Hickson with fly tying techniques for fishermen of all ages by Steve Leggett. Old tools, equipment and memorabilia were exhibited. Dressed in full uniform of civil war days, Company H of the 119th NY Infantry marched in formation and fired muskets. The Black Smith, Dick Sargent, worked hard forging nails and various works of iron demonstrating his skills. Children looked on in amazement as they imagined what it was like living back then.
The Newsday "History in Motion Bus" was present and contributed "hugely" by bringing a hands-on exhibit of 300 years of Long Island Transportation inside its museum on wheels. Children's faces glowed as they excitedly tried on the astronaut's helmet for size. The traveling exhibits, designed by CNPHS vice president and industrial designer Fred Blumlein, included America's first toll road, Charles Lindebergh's first transatlantic flight, and NASA space expeditions.
Aromas of cotton candy prepared by Boy Scout Troop #7, led by Richard Gray, and fresh-cooked foods filled the air. People ate lunch outdoors and shopped from the vendors. Collectibles such as art, stamps, and post cards were displayed on the front porch. Books and basement treasures were available to rummage through. Children enjoyed climbing inside the big fire truck, supplied by John Murro and Richard Rosenthal of the Protection Fire Department, in addition to learning about fire safety from the information they provided.
Inside the house, Andrea's apple pies were baked filling the air with a most pleasant enticing aroma. Unfortunately for many, they were sold out too soon. Jewelry and other antiques were also sold inside. Volunteers from the Historical Society were dressed appropriately for tours of the old historic home that were given throughout the day.
The 39th Cow Neck Country Fair was an enjoyable and wonderful day for all with the weather cooperating. However, this would not have been possible without the excellent planning and hard work by the volunteer members of the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society Annual Fair Committee led by Vincent Ressa and Ken Buettner. Three history lovers have recently joined the Society and are contributing their knowledge and experience: Robert Brice, Frank Pavlak and Fay Fraser, all from Port Washington, are being welcomed as new trustees.
As an educational institution, the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society is instrumental in preserving and making history come alive. Founded in 1962, it is chartered by the State of New York. It is a non-profit, voluntary organization concerned with the political, social, and cultural history of the community and Long Island. An extensive educational program informs children and adults about life in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society operates and maintains two historic house museums:
The Sands-Willets House at 336 Port Washington Boulevard. This 18-room house, part of which dates back to the early 1700s, is open for visitors Sunday 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
The Thomas Dodge House at 58 Harbor Road. This is probably the oldest house (c. 1721) in the Port Washington area. It is open for visitors by appointment; group and class tours, which are arranged by calling 767-3074.
The activities and maintenance of the houses, barn and grounds are supported primarily through membership dues, voluntary contribution, and the Society's own fund-raising efforts. CNPHS is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization; all contributions are tax deductible. Contributions and new members are always welcome. There is no requirement for membership other than payment of modest dues.
For more information on becoming a member of the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society, educational class and group tours, or making contributions needed to help continue with the programs, please contact the Society at 365-9074 or visit their website at www.cowneck.org.