Are you a juggler, painter, sculptor, fiddler, interpretive dancer, acrobat or even just someone who loves to walk? If so, Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct—a local organization dedicated to maintaining the aqueduct trail—invites you to come out this weekend and celebrate "Aquefest."
"Whatever it is you do—whether it's creating art, playing music or anything else, do it this weekend on the aqueduct," said event organizer Eileen Charles. This weekend's event will mark the sixth annual Aquefest, and Charles hopes the celebration will begin to take on a life of its own in the future.
"My dream is to have a weekend in which everyone knows to come out," she said. "We wouldn't have to hire bands and performers; they would just show up."
This year's Aquefest activities have been divided between so that Yonkers, Tarrytown, Croton and Ossining will host performers on Saturday and Hastings, Dobbs Ferry and Irvington will provide the entertainment on Sunday.
Charles has worked to make the weekend's activities and performances cater to both kids' and adults' tastes. On Sunday, Charles said Hastings would be more "kid-centric," featuring children's band "Annie and the Wonderband," and shows by a well-known puppeteer.
At noon in Dobbs Ferry, three-time Grammy Award winner Tom Chapin will play some of his best-known music at the Keeper's House on Walnut Street.
Irvington's celebration will take on an Irish theme, commemorating the predominantly Irish workforce that constructed the original aqueduct in the 1840's. There will be Irish music and dancing.
The further north you go, Charles said, "the mellower the activities become."
In Tarytown, the organizers invite locals to help decorate the Aqueduct arch, a wood arbor, with: paint, glass tiles and yarn and organic cotton cloth donated by Flying Fingers Yarn Shop and Green Babies.
"By the end of the day the arch will look and feel like water is rushing through it, as the wind blows the attached green, yellow and blue yarn and fabric," Charles said.
Musical performances in Tarrytown are: Brother Flower from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Music by Zev from 1 to 2 p.m. and Hannah Becker, an acoustic guitarist and Sleepy Hollow High School senior, from 2 to 3 p.m.
Up in Croton and Ossining the activities are more historical and artistic than carnivalesque.
"People don't realize they're in the presence of history when they walk, run or cycle along the aqueduct trail," Charles said. In Ossining,visitors can actually descend into the tunnel and see the conduit that once supplied water to Westchester and New York City.
Finally, in Croton visitors will encounter sculptures made from all-natural materials as they stroll along the path.
Aquefest is free, but there will be membership tables located near the trail in all the villages involved. "We strongly encourage everyone to donate something, even if it's very little," Charles said.
Charles said she and her husband joined The Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct in the '90s because of their passion for its beauty and accessibility.
Charles said: "The aqueduct is the lifeline of these villages."