Esperance to celebrate 200 years of incorporation

ESPERANCE — The village on Route 20 is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its incorporation and formation of its fire department on Saturday with a breakfast, parade and fireworks.

The festivities will begin with a pancake breakfast at the Methodist Church on Main Street served from 7 to 10 a.m.

Church Street will be closed to traffic, and visitors may park for free at the designated parking field on Feuz Terrace. Regular and Handicapped Parking are marked with signage and are reachable by taking Charleston Street North from Main St.

Along Church Street and at the village commons, vendors will have food and crafts for sale, exhibitors from nonprofit groups such as the George Landis Arboretum, Schoharie River Center and the area chapter of the Audubon Society. Stewarts shop will sell ice cream, Hannaford Supermarket will provide free snacks and the Hopmeier-Evans-Gage Insurance Agency will give away fireman’s hats to the kids.

Beginning at noon the Esperance Post Office will have a special event cancellation that day and visitors can purchase pictorial envelopes and stamps to receive the commemorative cancellation designed from the original “Hope” logo used by William North to market the village in 1806.

The Esperance Museum and Old Stone Presbyterian Church will be open with exhibits spotlighting 200 years of Esperance history. The first 100 visitors to the museum will receive a bookmark featuring artistic renderings of the village by former resident Roberta von Hahmann who has celebrated her 103rd birthday. In addition, a limited number of free passes to the Old Stone Fort Museum for Sunday will be available. Visitors who enter the Fort in Schoharie on Sunday will get to see the old Deluge No. 1, the first fire engine owned by the village and exhibited as reportedly the oldest fire engine in America.

The Esperance Old Stone Presbyterian Church will display local Bibles with stories about their owners covering more than 200 years of family history. The Esperance Schoolhouse Museum and Chapel Library will have an exhibit on the Esperance Fire Department covering its 200 year history. In the Gus La Monica carriage barn visitors can view some of the old firefighting equipment along with agricultural equipment used or made locally. A “What is it?” display to test antique identification skills. Activities for children, including a bounce house, games and balloon artist, will be run by Hannaford.

The parade will form at 11 a.m. west of the village on Route 20 and will start at noon.

Besides fire departments, floats, horses and antique cars, the parade will feature the Albany City Pipe Band and the Rensselaer Yankee Doodle Marching Band. The grand marshalls will be Ramona Feuz, the oldest resident of the village, active member of the community and booster of the Bicentennial celebration.

Former fire chief Charles “Tinker” Stanton, who has more than 60 years of active membership in the department and former mayor Lawrence Rockwell, whose term of office was one of the longest in the state, will, be in the parade.

After the parade the celebration returns to the village commons on Church Street where the Esperance Band will perform before the opening ceremonies at 1:15. That will feature flag ceremonies by the Boy Scouts and various speakers. At 2, the Schoharie Valley Singers will perform at the Gazebo followed by a bicentennial cake prepared and served by Hannaford. At 3 parade trophies will be awarded. Firematics will follow with trophies awarded for the winning fire departments at 4. At 5 a series of bands will be performing, beginning with the group Flashback at the new fire house. A half-hour fireworks display will kick off at 9:30 p.m. from Feuz Terrace. Guests are invited to dance the night away at the fire house.

By Kerry Minor

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