OTISVILLE, New York — On Oct. 7, the Mount Hope Chinese Association (MHCA) organized a grand cultural showcase in the form of the Fall Fun Festival. Despite being a rainy and cloudy day, the event illuminated the atmosphere with vibrant colors, flavors, and traditions of China — with the aim of bridging two cultures in a harmonious dance of unity and celebration.
Featuring exciting events such as live dance and musical performances, dragon dancing and acrobatics, and classical Chinese calligraphy and wedding demonstrations, the event was held at Otisville’s Veterans Memorial Park and was open to all free of charge. In addition, attendees could participate in tofu-making, traditional Chinese medicine workshops, and enjoy a variety of food and activities.
With a mission rooted in sharing traditional Chinese culture and values with the world, MHCA hopes to “pave the way for cultural and civic participation for Chinese Communities in the United States.”
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Karl Brabenec, assemblyman for New York’s 98th District, shared his enthusiasm in being a part of the festivities by highlighting the many cultural vendors that graced the event. “We’re very excited to be here at the Fall Festival,” Brabenec told Vision Times. “It’s a great event with a lot of cultural vendors and things to do. We were hoping the weather was going to be sunnier, but that’s okay. We’re all still having a great time.”
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Christopher M. Furman, Councilman for the town of Mount Hope, echoed Brabenec’s sentiments — praising the event’s organizers and highlighting the cultural exchange it provided. “It was a pleasure being here with all the events and different vendors and the cultural experience that is happening here,” said Furman. “It was a great day.”
Furman also made note of Mount Hope’s dedication to community development. “I think our community is very accepting of any kind of culture that comes to it. As long as we’re trying to do things, especially with MHCA, it’s about fostering community involvement.”
He continued on the significance of being aware and collaborative, mentioning the influence of external politics that affect residents’ everyday lives. “I think throughout the country, you’re starting to see this… unfortunately, our world politics, the way it’s going right now within the United States, you’re seeing a lot of things happen that I never thought we would see in our government.”
However, Mount Hope’s local officials and attendees showed tremendous support for the event by recognizing its potential and highlighting how such events add vibrancy and culture to the community. Despite the occasional rain, there was a shared sentiment: Otisville’s Fall Fun Fest has room to grow and this is just the beginning.
Furman also emphasized the importance of community development and the strides taken in recent years to improve infrastructure. From beautifying parks to securing grant money from the American Rescue Plan for essential repairs, he detailed how the community was “progressively evolving” and becoming more integrated with other cultural backgrounds and perspectives.
Also at the event was Dorey Houle, who ran for New York State’s Senate in Orange County. Houle made special note of the delectable Chinese food, exquisite jewelry, and talented dancers as standouts, and said the event provided a “wonderful opportunity” for residents to come together and enjoy a day of fun, culture, and delicious food.
“Rain can’t keep any of us away from this wonderful event here today,” said Houle. “There’s fantastic Chinese food and jewelry and wonderful people here with wonderful dancers and lots of cultural things to take advantage of.”
During a group interview, Keri Lee Carey, another candidate running for Mount Hope’s Town Council, shared with Vision Times her deep-rooted love for the community she has called home for the past 25 years.
“I think we have a very welcoming community and bringing in new cultures just adds to our community,” said Carey, adding, “[Events like these] just makes it even better.”
Encapsulating the essence of the town’s spirit, Carey said she is keen on ensuring safety, maintaining ethical governance, enhancing community activities, and promoting inclusivity. She also appreciates the role immigrants play in enriching the community’s cultural tapestry.
This year’s Fall Fun Fest was not just a day of celebration, but also a testament to Mount Hope’s rich mosaic of cultures and its dedication to progress. As officials like Furman and Carey work to ensure the town’s progress, events like this cement Otisville’s reputation as a culturally rich, inclusive, and welcoming place.
For more information about MHCA and upcoming events, visit the official website here.
With reporting by Judy Tao.