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Westchester Planning Big Celebration For Quadricentennial

August 26, 2006

White Plains, NY - It may seem a little early to be thinking 2009, but not if you’re planning to stage a countywide historic event guaranteed to launch Westchester into the spotlight and generate interest and tourism statewide.

The occasion will be the 400th anniversary commemoration of the discovery voyages made by Henry Hudson and Samuel de Champlain. And if it’s anything like the 1909 event – which involved an 8-mile parade with 27 floats, fireworks and a slew of special events in every town lining the route - it will be quite a spectacle indeed.

The initial kick-off meeting to discuss how communities can get involved will be Thursday, May 25, at the Tarrytown House, 49 E. Sunnyside Lane, Tarrytown, from 4 - 6 p.m. Notices were sent to Westchester County’s local officials and county business organizations, historical societies, arts and cultural groups, and museum and library associations. Future meetings will include additional organizations and schools.

ounty Executive Andy Spano, who sent the letter inviting local officials to participate, noted that the anniversary of the Hudson River’s discovery will be a rare opportunity for all of Westchester.

“How often do you get a stage like this? This will be the event of a lifetime,‿ he said. “We have to put our heads together and come up with novel ways to show off our unique qualities and our heritage, as well as what we have to offer in the way of tourism. It would be great if all our communities got involved – not just those on the waterfront.‿

The meeting is being sponsored by the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission which was created by state law in 2002 to develop a 400th anniversary celebration. Barbara Fratianni, the commission’s executive director, will give the background of the historic 400th anniversary celebration and discuss how local communities and organizations can participate.

The event, which will take place July through October 2009 from the New York City Harbor to Lake Champlain, will also recognize successful steamship navigation on the Hudson by Robert Fulton 200 years ago. Westchester’s cities, towns and villages will be encouraged to plan collaboratively and organize local events that can be celebrated throughout the river corridor.

For more information, please contact Barbara Fratianni at (914) 428-2505, ext. 369.