Liberty Weekend kicks off in Bensonhurst

History and fun collided once again as the Friends of Historic New Utrecht sponsored Liberty Weekend, an annual, all-ages event that combines historical displays, presentations and Revolutionary War re-enactors all in the spirit of celebrating the 233rd anniversary of the famous New Utrecht Liberty Pole, on Friday, June 3 and Saturday, June 4.

With American history-focused events taking place throughout the New Utrecht Reformed Church grounds (84th Street and 18th Avenue), the event serves as an educational and festive occasion.

“It went quite well,” said David Elligers, president of the Friends of Historic New Utrecht. “We had a little problem with the rain but the kids came [on Friday] and Saturday was a great day. We had a lot of people.”

The almost 20-year-old event also featured displays detailing New Utrecht’s past, a lecture by Michael Callahan of the National Parks Service on “The Aftermath of the Battle of Saratoga,” a ceremony honoring the 233rd anniversary of the raising of the first Liberty Pole, a tour led by Elligers of the Old New Utrecht Reformed Church Cemetery, and a special tour of the church which is still being repaired.

“As an added attraction, people who visited were able to go into the old church – which has been closed for the renovation process since the end of 2003 – and it was an opportunity to see how much has been accomplished, but also, that a fair amount remains to be done,” Elligers added. “The church is still engaged in fundraising and we had a good time.”

According to the Friends of Historic New Utrecht, Liberty Weekend is a joint effort put on by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, and Councilmembers Vincent Gentile and Mark Treyger.

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