"Whoop-de-Doo" exhibit at Middletown Town Hall
Margaretville — The New Kingston “Whoop-de-Doo,” a celebration of local food, fun and folkways that was held annually from 1969 to 1976, is the subject of a new exhibit in the history display case at the Middletown Town Hall.
Town Historian Shirley Davis assembled the display, which includes photos, clippings and T-shirts from the event that is fondly remembered by those who attended. The display may be seen from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday at the town hall on Route 28, between Margaretville and Arkville.
New Kingston Presbyterian Church Pastor Bill Harter launched the event as a fund-raiser for the church (it had not yet joined with the Margaretville church). An enthusiastic committee organized the event which got bigger every year until, in the Bicentennial year of 1976, it drew thousands of people, straining the little hamlet’s ability to accommodate them. Ironically, the event had become too successful and it was discontinued, but not before it entered the annals of Middletown history.
Most of the photos in the display are from the collection of the late Isabelle Robertson who was instrumental in organizing the affair, especially the floats, for the parade.
Pictured are Don Monington doing a water witching demonstration, Marjorie Monington demonstrating soapmaking, Wanda Lanzi making bread, Laura Van Benschoten signing her poetry book, Oscar and Charlie Dougherty splitting logs, the Bill Elliott family on a float and Hans Schoenfeld and his pottery demonstration.
One year Frank Russell and Laura Van Benschoten were honored as longtime residents of New Kingston and there is a photo of Frank sitting on his porch wearing his “PF Flyers” sneakers (he wore them all the time), and another of the Van Benschoten family — brothers Jerry, Roland, Bob and their mother Laura — in Jerry’s old car during a parade.
Jean Gray, the Taylor boys, Ruth Harrington on her horse Macaroni; Marvin, Jeff and Debbie Hosier; Danny and P.G. Condon and other local residents are also pictured.
T-shirts in the display are from the collections of the Condons and Howard Raab.