Great American Weekend is here

The thing to do since 1982: Browse the crafts vendors, nosh at the food booths, hear performances by local entertainers, run with the Rotary

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  • The Rotary Run at Great American Weekend (Goshen Chamber of Commerce Facebook photo)

Weekend highlights

Great American Weekend is this Saturday and Sunday, June 30 and July 1, in the center of the village.
Fun for all ages, 20K people a day stroll the nine-acre village surrounding the First Presbyterian Church. Hudson Valley Magazine says it is "arguably the Hudson Valley's liveliest Fourth of July celebration. Visitors browse the many crafts vendors, nosh at food booths, and listen to performances by local entertainers.
This community event has funded many programs benefiting the community. Proceeds from vendor fees support scholarships, grants, and programs that serve the greater Goshen area.
The epicenter is the First Presbyterian Church Park, 33 Park Place, Goshen. Hours are as follows:
Saturday, June 30 — 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday, July 1 — 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Rain date (Saturday activities only) is Sunday, July 1
Vendors will start setting up Friday morning.
Great American Weekend is sponsored by the Goshen Chamber of Commerce. For more information call 294-7741; email, or visit
10K Rotary RunThe Great American Weekend 5K & 10K Goshen Rotary Run starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday at the Government Center, 255 Main Street. Bib pick-up and pre-registration are on Friday, June 29, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Cataract Fire House on Green Street.
Race day registration begins at 6:30 a.m. at the government center. Arrive early to avoid congestion.
Walkers are welcome and will start with runners. The course closes at 9:30 a.m. Anyone not finished will not be scored. Walkers will be scored as a participant in the runners divisions.

By Wendy Bynum Wade

— The First Presbyterian Church in Goshen has been associated with Goshen’s Great American Weekend since its inception in 1982. Back then, the event was mostly in the minds of its creators, Mary Gray Griffith, Dan and Edith O’Brien, Pat Boyle, Esq., Toni Smith and a few other Goshen Chamber Board members at that time thought that creating a community event in the middle of the village would benefit the Goshen Historic Track, still reeling from the sudden transition to the ban on pari-mutuel betting as decreed in the will of the track’s main benefactor, Roland Harriman in 1979. Looking for ways to entice family groups to Goshen and to the track, the Chamber thought that a fun filled weekend in the Church Park would do the trick. The Chamber, the Track and Museum officials and Village of Goshen officials were all concerned about finding a way to replace the crowds numbering in the thousands that filled Goshen each year during Grand Circuit Race Week. Needless to say, the leaders of the Goshen Chamber of Commerce in the early 80’s were right! At first, Great American Weekend wasn’t much more than a hot dog cart, a few craft vendors and a small parade down Main Street.

Over the ensuing 36 years the event has taken on a life of its own and could be held almost anytime, but true to its beginnings, is still tied to the dates of the Grand Circuit’s abbreviated race schedule at the Goshen Historic Tract. Along the way there have been car shows, talent shows, fashion shows and bed races; but the foundation of Great American Weekend remain with the 150-plus vendors featuring home-made crafts, local entertainers, the Rotary’s road races and a food tent featuring area non-profits and a variety of popular food entrees.

Most of Goshen’s non-profit organizations depend on revenues earned during Great American Weekend to enable them to carry on their good works in the community for the entire year. First Presbyterian Church in Goshen is no different! You can find the Goshen Presbyterians hard at work all over the church green. On Friday, bring the kids to the “one price admission night” for the amusement rides. From 5-9 p.m. on Friday, pay one price for a bracelet and the kids can ride all the rides they like or that their parents can stand! The rides will continue on Saturday and Sunday but each ride will require its own ticket(s).

The Presbyterian Women’s Association will also be on hand to provide vendors setting up and early weekend visitors their morning dose of java. The ladies will be set up right in front of the main entrance of the church selling bagels, coffee and tea. They will also have tickets available for the 2 Annual Clam Bake scheduled for September as part of the church’s 300th anniversary celebration.

Under the food tent, you’ll get your fix of chicken nuggets and french fries, another way for the church to supplement funds to maintain/improve its building and continue its outreach throughout the community.

A patriotic highlight during the weekend, not to mention a great way to get out of the heat and into an air conditioned sanctuary, the Director of Music Ministry, Jonathan Hall, will provide an organ recital at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning. He plans to begin with the Star-Spangled Banner and end with America the Beautiful. In between will be all kinds of patriotic music and the audience will be encouraged to join in and sing along. There will also be church tours, highlighted by the beautiful stain-glass Tiffany windows, throughout the weekend. Check the Great American Weekend schedule for times.

Finally, the church will have a booth a little further down the driveway from the ladies in front of the church, selling piano keys; hand painted keys taken from defunct church pianos hand decorated with images of the church tower.

There is truly something for everyone at Goshen’s Great American Weekend. The First Presbyterian Church in Goshen looks forward to welcoming you to our front lawn!

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