The Most Epic Trail Run In Beacon - Happening Saturday - The Cannonball Run Fundraiser

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Don't let the name fool you! The organizers of this event - The Beacon Recreation Department - are inspired by all sorts of things. This second annual epic trail run through the University Settlement Park is named after a road race movie (Cannonball Run) starring Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, and Farrah Fawcett. In this case, though, the run is with your legs - you're jogging, walking or sprinting the 5K or 1-mile trail - and the cannonball is going to be YOU jumping into the pool after you finish the race!

That's right - the Beacon Pool is part of the course! Bonus points for the raffle prize you might win from Meyer's Olde Dutch (burgers and such), Mountain Tops Outfitters, Garrison Art Center, Fishkill Farms, or one of the many more local business sponsors who have stepped up to aid in the run's fundraising efforts. You don't even have to be a runner/walker to enter the raffle!

A Little Beacon Blog is a proud media sponsor of Beacon's Cannonball Run because we are hooked on its mission. The proceeds from the race registrations and raffle tickets go to the Beacon After School Program, which started in Beacon's elementary schools. But if enough money is raised, and another mile marker is hit, then monies will be used toward starting the After School Program in the Middle School. This has been a tremendous program benefiting kids and working parents, and parents who simply want more options for their kids after school.

Read our article to learn more about the program and the race, and see you bright and early tomorrow (Saturday) morning!

The River Pool at Beacon IN The Hudson River Opens for 2018!

 The left side of The Beacon River Pool - eye level.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The left side of The Beacon River Pool - eye level.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

As you play at Riverfront Park, known since 2014 as Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park, you may have experienced the extreme desire to swim in the Hudson River to cool off. Well, now you can - because The River Pool at Beacon is open again this year! Starting in 2007, five years after submitting construction plans to New York State, the pool opened to the public for the first time. The river pool idea was originally proposed by the pool's co-founder, Pete Seeger, according to the pool's History page.

What's a River Pool?

The river pool is netted and shallow, with a net bottom designed by Meta Brunzema Architect P.C., a New York City-based design firm. You could crawl on it, with a child on your back, pretending you are an alligator gliding just under the water surface. Or you could sit or stand in the shallow water, enjoying the breeze off the water and gazing up or down the river, thankful you aren't in the traffic moving (or not moving) on the Newburgh/Beacon Bridge. Or, you could simply sit on the colorful plastic seats and bask in the sun, slipping further into the water as you're ready.

River pools aren't unique to this spot - they have been around since at least 1830, up and down the Hudson River - but they were removed after 1930 due to water pollution. Pete Seeger was a major advocate for cleanup of the Hudson River. Thanks to his efforts as well as many other organizations including Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper, the river has improved since then, and many groups and people continue to advocate in this direction.

Can Anyone Use the River Pool?

It's a free pool for all, thanks to support from individual donations, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Durst Organization, the Abrons Foundation, the Hudson River Foundation. The pool's organizers actually want to increase its size. They're working with another architecture firm to design a bigger pool, and they're talking with cities and towns to find the right location that offers agreeable environmental considerations.

What's It Like Swimming in the River Pool?

 The changing room at The Beacon River Pool.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The changing room at The Beacon River Pool.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

So fun. So relaxing. You're IN the river, just sitting there protected from the currents by the anchored netting. The pool is small, so you'll be near others as they dip in and out of the pool. The pool is also very shallow: An adult is up to their waist or thighs. The River Pool is fully staffed by lifeguards, and even has a changing room!

If thunder rolls in and you need to leave the pool and wait 30 thunder-free minutes to go back in, you could always shoot baskets at the park's basketball court, or play on the playgrounds. Or have a picnic on the grass (watch out for alllll of the goose poop).

An additional perk: Riverfront Park is very breezy, so you'll be cooled off quickly down by the river no matter what.

Is Swimming in the Hudson River Safe?

The Hudson River was contaminated by companies who dumped pollutants into it for many years. An ongoing effort to clean up the Hudson River has spanned several decades. As of today, it has reached cleaner levels, but is closely monitored by The River Pool at Beacon. Says a representative from The River Pool this year: "The quality in Beacon Harbor is definitely of concern. Beacon Harbor had a long run of low numbers. We hope this is a temporary situation. That said, the pool is off the north shore of Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park. The water is tested every week by the county health department. We would not open if the water was not considered safe for swimming."

Swim For The Pool - From Beacon To Newburgh!

Fundraising continues for the pool with regular donations that you can make at any time, and during the 15th Annual Newburgh to Beacon Hudson River Swim, where you can sponsor a swimmer - or be a swimmer that people sponsor! See the Beacon to Newburgh Swim page for details.

Make a donation here to keep this all going, but don't worry if you can't. It was designed for all to be able to access and experience the Hudson River. See you at the pool!

The Beacon Pool 2018 Opening, How It Works, and Summer Hours

  Photo Credit: The Beacon Pool's Facebook Page

Photo Credit: The Beacon Pool's Facebook Page

The Beacon Pool is back for its 2018 season! Beacon lifers might remember the days when the Beacon Pool had to close, and was an empty cement hole for many hot summers. But no longer. Operated by the Beacon Recreation Department and staffed by lifeguards and pool staff you've come to recognize year after year, the Beacon Pool is now open for business and still has season passes available, though you can buy affordable day passes as well. Over the years, we've gotten to know the pool and how it works, so here's what you'll need to know:

Season Pass Holders

While this feels like a VIP pass (and you should feel like a VIP for having one, because you're seriously committed), it's really just a convenience so you can avoid scrounging for dollars in your pool bag or car. Season Pass Holders don't get priority for swimming; they don't get in even when there is a line at the gate when the pool reaches its capacity of 75 people - which happens quickly. But having the Season Pass makes life easier when you're just swinging by the pool for a quick dip. Otherwise, you may find yourself trying to justify heading out for a 20-minute "quick dip" and ask yourself if it's worth it. Answer: It is. Just go.

2018 Day Use Pool Fees

Adult Day Pass: $4
Child/Senior Day Pass: $3

The Line and Wait Time

 There is no messing with this Poolside Fashionista. No running!  Photo Credit:  The Beacon Pool's Facebook Page

There is no messing with this Poolside Fashionista. No running!
Photo Credit: The Beacon Pool's Facebook Page

So, there is this issue of the pool often having a line to get in. And you can't bribe the pool bouncers - we've tried. Waiting isn't soooo bad, as long as you are prepared. Bring snacks, maybe a soccer ball or your own radio and a low volume. Don't walk away or expect a fancy paging system to buzz you when you're next in line. Stay close to the fence to hear your name being called.

Speaking of Food...

You can bring your own, but you can't eat it within the pool area. They don't want too many extra bees flying around.

Why Does It Open at 2 pm?

We've heard this before. No the lifeguards aren't just rolling out of bed then. The pool staff has actually been there for some time, teaching swim classes and entertaining campers from around the area. The afternoon is when it opens to the public.

POOL HOURS
Monday to Friday - 2 to 7 pm
Saturday and Sunday - Noon to 7 pm

The Beacon Pool keeps an "unofficial" Facebook Group, where they often post their hours for the day. Hours don't generally vary unless something unexpected happens, like a thunderstorm or cleaning of the pool. If you're not on Facebook, you're out of luck in terms of updates. Which is why we would encourage the pool to develop a basic website to post their updates! Email Katie James Inc. for help... (wink wink).

Who Can Go? Only Beacon Residents?

Speaking of the public, anyone can go. Anyone from any city, town, county or state. You do not need to be a Beacon resident to go.

Where Is the Beacon Pool?

It's really hard to see from the street. In fact, you can't see from Route 9D - it's hidden behind trees and woods.

The Beacon Pool is located at the Park at The Settlement Camp, 724 Wolcott Ave., Beacon. It is across from the Craig House.

How Accessible Is the Pool?

The pool itself is 140 feet by 50 feet, and progresses in depth from 2 feet to 8 feet deep, making it perfect for swimmers and water lovers of all ages. You could step down and wade into the pool. There are steps available for those who need them, upon request.

The basic bathrooms on-site could serve as a changing room, but the floor is pretty wet from other swimmers, so change at home if you can.

So Sunny!

Mostly, the pool is in the sun. This year, new blue and white striped umbrellas provide some shade! The very end of the day is a great time to go - like after 5:30pm. Most likely, there will still be a line, but shade starts creeping in on the sides.

Backyard Pool for Heat Wave - Blow It Up

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Call it a heat wave, or just call it summer in the Humid Hudson Valley. Either way, you're going to need water to dip into. If you are too dazed to get down to the River Pool in the Hudson River, then head to Rite Aid to get this big blowup pool. Adults can fit into it, as well as small mermaids. Mermaid tails aren't included, but you can get an actual one here. Swim for free in your backyard, or in the River Pool.

Be sure to pick up an air pump at Brett's True Value down on West Main Street (on the way to the Metro-North train station). The pump will make it a breeze to inflate the backyard pool!

BAM!! Beacon's Fireworks Are Happening... But They Almost Didn't

 Photo Credit: Betsy Biggar Hellmuth

Photo Credit: Betsy Biggar Hellmuth

BEACON'S FIREWORKS
Date: Sunday, July 1, 2018
Location: Memorial Park, Robert Cahill Drive, Beacon, NY
Time: Music starts at 5 pm. Fireworks begin at 9 pm.
Entertainment: There will be live music, and vendors selling food.

"When are Beacon's fireworks this year?"

It's a simple question. One that normally has an answer without a second thought. When annual events or things happen - like hanging baskets of petunias on Main Street - one doesn't normally question how or why they happen, only that they do happen.

So when chatter started about Beacon's fireworks not happening for 2018, ears perked up in disbelief. Rather than accept that Beacon wouldn't have fireworks, Beaconites took it upon themselves to make it happen.

The City of Beacon itself is not involved in the production of most of the annual events scheduled throughout the year. These commemorative and festive events have drawn renewed interest and involvement from community members, though:

The Spirit of Beacon Day Parade almost didn't happen in 2018 when its organizers disbanded (but then it did happen, as new organizers stepped in!). The Memorial Day Parade, which is organized by veterans who live in Beacon, did not happen in 2018, but will return in 2019, as announced by a veteran during last month's Memorial Day service at the Memorial Building. They expressed how humbled they were by the public's strong turnout to this year's ceremony.

Another group of Beacon citizens has organized a reading of the Declaration of Independence set to happen on Wednesday, July 4, at 11 am.

As for Beacon's fireworks show, it's really an event produced by the people of Beacon. There are many involved who are putting together a big fireworks display for 2018. Here's what we know so far:

A Changing of the Guard for Beacon's Fireworks

You may not have realized that historically, the Kiwanis Club of Beacon did the fundraising for the fireworks. Additionally, the organization known as "I Am Beacon" used to play a part in organizing events that began in the afternoon and ran into the night. Sometimes things change, however, and unfortunately, the Kiwanis Club disbanded this year with no clear guideline in place for passing the firework fundraising torch (irresistible pun intended).

Enter LT Sherpa, owner of Beacon Natural Market. He was overcome with shock when he heard that there would be no fireworks in Beacon. "You can't have the Fourth of July without fireworks," he said to himself, and then to me while interviewing him for this story.

Beacon Natural, Verplanck Auto, and Beacon Recreation Department Step Up to Produce Celebration

"I decided that the Beacon Natural Market would offer to sponsor the fireworks," LT continued. "After speaking to the mayor and discovering that the cost was a little more than what the market could do alone, I spearheaded a donation drive from Beacon businesses to hold the fireworks. Beacon has been good to businesses, and I want us to give back.” LT is working with Mark Price, director of Beacon's Recreation Department, who has usually facilitated the production of Beacon's Fourth of July celebration in years past.

DONATING TO THE FIREWORKS
If you would like to donate to the event, please contact LT or Kitty Sherpa:
Call: Beacon Natural Market, (845) 838-1288
Email: beacon348@verizon.net
Donate in person: Beacon Natural Market, 348 Main St., Beacon, NY
Checks: Make payable to the City of Beacon.

No matter what LT and his wife Kitty raise during the donation drive, LT has assured the City that he is writing a check for the full amount of the fireworks. The fireworks will commence on Sunday, July 1, 2018, and there is no rain date.

All donations for the fireworks can be made out to the City of Beacon, and can be dropped off at Beacon Natural Market.

Live Music for Beacon's Fireworks

Some of you know Manny from Verplanck Auto, and some of you have your cars in his lot right now being repaired. Said Manny when being interviewed for this story: "I spoke to Mark Price on a chance meeting about this event. I wanted to help. My son, who will be a high school senior this year, Zack Taylor, has been performing at the Fourth of July celebration for the past three to four years with his band, Seal the Deal."

Manny and LT are working with Mark from the Recreation Department, who is orchestrating the programming for the entire day. "People are coming out of the woodwork to help out," said Manny. "L+J is donating the sound equipment, and many others are donating time and such to the whole process," said Manny.

Musical Lineup Before the Fireworks

The festival will be at Memorial Park on Sunday, July 1. There will be vendors selling food as well as live music. The music starts at 5 pm, and will be done by the time the fireworks begin at 9 pm.

This musical lineup was sent to us by Zack Kotzias, who is known for performing in interesting venues around Beacon:

5-5:30 pm Brian Daniel (R&B)
5:45-6:15 pm Jeremy Torres (Acoustic)
6:30-7 pm Backseat Lover (Rock)
7:15-7:45 pm Seal the Deal (Rock)
8-8:15 pm Tony E (Hip Hop)
8:20-9 pm Decora (Hip Hop)

If you are involved with this year's production or if you have already donated, go ahead and give yourself a shout-out and pat on the back in the Comments below!

Business Donors So Far

M&T Bank, John Car Realty, Homespun, Dominic Penzetta, Dogwood, Drink More Good, Hudson, Valley Auctioneers, Greg Zabel, Hudson Beach Glass, Artisan Wine Store, Hudson Valley Brewery, Mobile Gas Station, Quinns, Quinns Employees, Keyfood, Antalek & Moore, Mountain Tops, Kitchen Sink, Hudson Valley Zoned, Luxe Optical, Law Office of Dennis Vetrano, Gate House Realty, Kiwanis Club, Roundhouse, Melzingah Tap House, Poppy’s, Beacon Natural Market, and Thundercut.

 

Hanging Baskets of Petunias Have Arrived on Main Street - How They Got There

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Quick - what's the prettiest way to tell what season it is in Beacon? Look up, to Main Street's lampposts, and see what's hanging as the seasons change. In the winter, it's wreaths and illuminated stars. In the spring and summer, it's the petunias. But these petunias don't water themselves. And where do they come from, anyway?

The Hanging Petunia Baskets Are A Community Effort

The Tioronda Garden Club pays for the hanging baskets, and Sunny Garden Greenhouses, the nursery north on Route 9D past Stony Kill Farm, makes the hanging baskets. Mayor Randy Casale and former councilperson Sam Way water the baskets in the early morning, and have done so ever since the baskets were removed from the City's budget years ago.

Fundraisers are put on each year by the Tioronda Garden Club for the hanging baskets (we covered it last year), so watch for your chance to help! And just look at the Tioronda Garden Club's new website, with all of their events listed! This is a great way to connect with other gardening enthusiasts. You could even possibly be one of these secret gardeners on Main Street, if you wanted to join the Tioronda Garden Club.

This year, my photo of the petunias is from inside A Little Beacon office at 291 Main Street, in the Telephone Building. I don't recall seeing the hanging baskets last year outside my window, but I'm so happy to see it daily now!

Watch for Giant Turtles Crossing - What Do They Do On The Other Side?

In last weekend’s edition of the Highlands Current, the reporting was turned on Beacon beat reporter Jeff Simms, who normally writes up Beacon news for the newspaper. His animal-rescue experience landed him front-page treatment. Normally, his own article would be in this spot. Last week, however, he himself was in ink (not the ink on his arm, but on the page).

While riding his bike down Route 9D from Beacon to Cold Spring on his way to the Current's production meeting, Jeff spotted this snapping turtle gradually making his way across the road. According to the article, Jeff pulled his bike over and attempted to encourage the turtle to go faster or move away from the busy road.

May and June is prime time to see snapping turtles, which are one of 11 species native to New York. In the late spring and early summer, they're on the move, laying their eggs in sandy areas or loose soil, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The DEC issued an advisory last year reminding motorists to watch out for migrating turtles, whose populations are declining. "The reptiles lay just one small clutch of eggs each year, which means the loss of a breeding female can have a significant effect on the local turtle population," according to the advisory. Suffice to say, the turtle that Jeff spotted was on a mission and would not be deterred.

But its slow progress left it vulnerable, so Jeff’s next move was to call in the professionals: Mark Price, Beacon’s own director of the parks and recreation department. Together, they moved the turtle by lifting it by either side of its shell, the method DEC recommends if you need to move one (see the DEC's full recommendation on how to move a turtle to safety).

Exciting times for this Tree City! Beacon is an official Tree City, as designated by New York State’s Urban Forestry Program, which “fosters comprehensive planning, management and education throughout New York to create a healthy urban and community forest and enhance quality of life,” as stated in their mission. Spotting snapping turtles is a reminder that we are surrounded by an an ecosystem of fauna and flora, turtles to treetops, and it's good to keep them healthy!

Cupcake Festival in Beacon, NY 2018 - Reached the Cupcake Mecca

  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

 Streets were packed on Beacon's east end of town for the Cupcake Festival 2018.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin   

Streets were packed on Beacon's east end of town for the Cupcake Festival 2018.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin
 

Did you reach the mecca? The Cupcake Festival? The east end of town was thick with cupcake celebrators, but in our journey to walk all of Main Street from the train to the mountain, we got to duck into a few favorite local businesses...

Luxe Optique (where we helped a friend buy some glasses!), American Gypsy Vintage while waiting for a to-go chicken wrap from Ziatun to eat on the way, NFP Studio (got a personal demonstration of how to wear their architecture-inspired sweaters!), Utensil Kitchenware (bought some nesting containers at last!), Jeffrey Terreson Fine Art (always love seeing that guy and he had a stunning, ginormous print on the floor ready for shipping out the door). And at last, we decorated this cupcake from Tops, and indulged in a generous chocolate cupcake with a lot of vanilla frosting from The Chocolate Studio. Alas, we ate it before the camera could capture a picture.

 We Shopped at American Gypsy Vintage on the way down to the Cupcake Festival, while waiting for a takeout chicken wrap from Ziatun.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin   

We Shopped at American Gypsy Vintage on the way down to the Cupcake Festival, while waiting for a takeout chicken wrap from Ziatun.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin
 

 How many cupcakes should you bring if you're a cupcake vendor? A lot. This is just a fraction - 1/279th - of the cupcakes that were for sale.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin   

How many cupcakes should you bring if you're a cupcake vendor? A lot. This is just a fraction - 1/279th - of the cupcakes that were for sale.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin
 

 Finally Stopped into NFP Studio to experience the sweaters!  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin   

Finally Stopped into NFP Studio to experience the sweaters!
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin
 

 During Last year's Cupcake Festival, no one ventured down to 1 East Main, which is literally Just down a grassy hill from the Happenin' Event. This year, Since  Trax Coffee Roasters Has moved in , Cupcake Aficionados Were Happy to venture down the hill.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

During Last year's Cupcake Festival, no one ventured down to 1 East Main, which is literally Just down a grassy hill from the Happenin' Event. This year, Since Trax Coffee Roasters Has moved in, Cupcake Aficionados Were Happy to venture down the hill.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Beacon Still in Bloom: Chain Link Fences of Beacon

  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin   

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin
 

Beacon is still in bloom for what is shaping up to be a long floral season, with the healthy doses of rain we’ve been getting. The lilacs, dogwoods, and magnolias have just started opening up. There was a time, for two or three seasons in a row I seem to recall, when it did snow on the new magnolia buds. But so far... well, I won’t say more and jinx us. :)

Meanwhile, Beacon is famous for its chain link fences, and to be honest, the biggest benefit of the chain link fence is that you can see through it, letting in light which is good for plantings, and it doesn’t fall down as easily as soggy wooden fences do. (Though I love a good, soggy, mossy wooden fence. So atmospheric.)

  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin