Locals from the village of Saugerties, New York and surrounding areas were brought to the 49th annual Mum Festival on Oct. 5 to celebrate this local tradition.
The Mum Festival has been held in Seamon Park in Saugerties since 1965. When the space first opened to the public in 1910, Seamon delegated it “for use as a park, a breathing place, open and free at all times to every person.” The festival celebrates John Seamon and his accomplishments in bringing together the town of Saugerties.
The festival welcomes autumn each year with multicolored mum arrangements spread throughout the park. Children at the festival enjoyed a petting zoo, face-painting, arts and crafts and horses wearing hand-made mum flower crowns led hayrides around the park.
Adult attendees were also entertained by an orchestra playing traditional Italian and Irish music and a local art display sponsored by the Saugerties Women’s Club (SWC). Margaret Granison, a longtime Saugerties resident and member of the SWC, specifically enjoys the sense of community at the festival.
“Our club puts on the art show every year, we know the local artists and we want to showcase our community as much as possible,” said Granison. The festival was sponsored this year by The Saugerties Society of Little Gardens, a club for local women passionate about gardening. This organization helps to fundraise for the festival by making corsages and boutonnieres for distribution. The Mum Festival committee typically begins planning each festival in April. When August comes around, the committee meets every two weeks to discuss the status of the event. Committee member and Saugerties resident Susan Whitaker has been involved in some way with the planning of this festival her entire life. "My grandmother was on the founding committee fifty years ago," she said. "I really love keeping the tradition alive.” The 50th anniversary of the festival is coming up next year. When discussing what’s in store for next October, Ethel Resso, another member of the mum festival committee said the festival will be bigger. "We’re going to promote the event as much as possible, and there are going to be even more activities, we’re all really excited!”