Autumn Lights flicker in the storm, but they don't go out

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

    WEST MILFORD — High winds and torrential downpours put a definite damper on the 11th Annual Autumn Light Festival. The Greenwood Lake Airport had to cancel events due to safety, and many exhibitors and vendors simply closed up shop when the weather proved difficult and attendance was at a minimum. But, over at the Presbyterian Church, things were hopping. There were 22 vendors inside three buildings, the Parish House, the Scout House and Fellowship Hall. The church held it’s annual chicken barbecue, where they nearly sold out of 500 pounds of chicken. In addition, the Music at the Mission folks hosted a series of musical performers which also went inside. It was cramped quarters in the town hall meeting room, where local dancers put on a show. And over at Pine Cliff Lake, the Octoberfest simply moved inside the clubhouse and went on into the evening. Participants in the morning’s 5k kick-off race proved to be a hardy bunch as they lined up at 9 a.m. to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Society. At West Milford High School a show featuring three bands — PURE, The Rob Deposit Band and Don’t Wash David went on as planned. It was presented by the Highlands Youth Coalition and was a benefit for the victims of Hurricaine Katrina. ALF Committee Chairwoman Laurie Ardis said the very first Autumn Lights Festival also began with a named tropical storm — Roxanne. This Saturday, all the trouble stemmed from Tammy. Ironically, although Ardis has chaired only four of the 11 Autumn Lights Festivals, she was at the helm for both storms. Ardis said that making the decision to go ahead with the festival was difficult, and then, when the weather proved to be more than anyone had foreseen, it was again difficult to make the decision to shut down all the outdoor venues. “One thing is for sure though,” she said, “ the people who served on the ALF committee, the groups who participated in the festival, the townspeople and the out-of-towners who came to enjoy — or defy— the day are some of the best people you’ll ever meet.” Many of the patrons and participants who stuck it out told Ardis they had a great time partly because and certainly in spite of the bad weather. Dan Aneiros, who was coordinating the festivities at the airport, said on Wednesday that most of the activities have been rescheduled for November 5. An all day event, the airport will host the Young Eagle Program, a motorcycle show, emergency equipment displays, civic groups and vendors, plus antique airplanes, a kid’s ID program, face painting and more. An introductory flight training will be given away to a lucky teen. Anyone interested in being included in the airport event is asked to email: shake1@optonline. Ted Porebski of Bearfort Village said that he expects to host between 30 - 35 vendors for a craft show this Satuday. Ardis said next year there will be tents for showers and a “hurricane date” for even less hospitable weather. Pictures of ALF 2005 on page 2.