RAVENA — Ravena celebrated the end of summer with the annual Friendship Festival all day Saturday with its biggest bash of the year.
Held each year in Mosher Park, the festival brings together the entire community for a day of fun and camaraderie.
“This is our 35th year,” said festival coordinator Caitlin Appleby. “New this year are carnival games, karate demonstrations, and the Albany Police Department and state police did K-9 demonstrations.”
While those activities were new to the festival, there were also some old favorites.
“Like we do every year, we have carnival rides, caricature drawing, the rock-climbing wall, and everything is free except the carnival games,” Appleby said.
Lafarge covered expenses related to the carnival rides, and nearly a dozen other local businesses contributed to make the Friendship Festival possible. They include Carver Companies, Nolan Propane, Ravena Shop n Save, Curaleaf, Crossroads Ford, Bank of Greene County, Persico Oil, Package Pavement and Flach Development.
After a day of fun at the park, at nightfall the festivities concluded with an explosive fireworks show in the night sky over Ravena.
The Friendship Festival is a long-running summertime favorite that draws together the entire community.
“The village of Ravena sponsors the Friendship Festival and it is organized by a volunteer committee,” Appleby said. “It is the one thing that I know a lot of kids look forward to and as a kid it was a very special memory for me. As an adult, I wanted to give that back to my community.”
Jessica Haberland and her family came to the festival and one of their first stops was to watch the karate demonstration on the lawn.
“We just got here but we were in time to see the karate demonstration — our favorite was when they broke the [wooden] boards with their elbows and hands,” Haberland said. “This is a nice festival for a family outing.”
Kids lined up at the rides, which were all free of charge. The pony rides and petting zoo were also favorites among the younger set.
“I came with my son and fiancé. My son liked the petting zoo best,” said Danielle Domanico. “We come every year, and we look forward to it every year.”
Chris Byas came with her husband and two grandsons.
“This is my first time — usually their parents bring them, but this is my first time here,” Byas said. “My grandson’s favorite was the bounce house. He also did all the rides except the giant slide and the rocket ride. Everything has been a lot of fun.”
The Albany County Police Department and New York State Police did demonstrations of their K-9 units and how they do their job, and vendors lined the streets selling everything from carnival foods to knick-knacks.
Village Trustee Nancy Warner said the Friendship Festival is a good event for the community.
“I am happy with how the festival turned out,” Warner said. “There are new participants and old-time favorites, and the weather — you couldn’t ask for better. I would hope it generates community spirit and we get to invite others into our community to see what we are all about.”
She added that the fireworks show at nightfall is “always a hit.”