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Friday, April 18, 2014
Canajoharie, NY ,

Joshua Thomas
Flower the Clown presented Landon Major with a balloon animal Tuesday night.

Joshua Thomas
Flower the Clown paints Liam Achzet's face Tuesday evening.

Joshua Thomas
A Wolfpack pinata created by the OESJ High School art program.

Joshua Thomas
Lisa Thompson, left, and Michaela Wilson lower the Wolfpack pinata at the St. Johnsville Youth Center Tuesday evening.

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St. Johnsville celebrates 2013's Last Night

Wednesday, January 01, 2014 - Updated: 10:10 AM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

ST. JOHNSVILLE -- St. Johnsville closed out 2013 with a literal bang, as on Dec. 31, around 9 p.m., fireworks blasted off over the village, viewable to attendees of the village's third Last Night celebration, an annual event traded between St. Johnsville, Fort Plain and Canajoharie.

Small, joyous groups of attendees clustered in various locations spread out amongst a few-block radius in the village to enjoy live music, square dancing, food, open houses and children's entertainment.

Around 8 p.m., about 20 kids and their parents and guardians flooded into the St. Johnsville Youth Center to take a crack at 2013 -- the new year undoubtedly ushered in with a sugar rush -- as they took turns swinging at a giant pinata created by OESJ High School art students.

The pinata, a Wolfpack paw, did its job beautifully, releasing large handfuls of candy at a time, sending the kids in attendance crawling across the floor to grab at fistfuls of sweets and whistles.

"I thought it was awesome," said Lisa Thompson of the pinata, joking of herself and her husband, Lee, "You should have seen us trying to put it up," a 30-minute task that required a massive ladder to thread the creation through metal loops along the ceiling.

Another sizable crowd gathered around 8 p.m. at the House of Bread to square dance to a performance by the Delnero Family Band. One dance had participants calling one another to the center of a human circle. The dancers would then run through the joined arms of the rotating dancers, returning to the middle to choose another participant.

Bathed in shifting neon colors, the Dependents, back together as a full band, as Lead Singer Jocelyn Arndt is home from college, played a mix of originals and covers at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. The band's set included an explosive "House of the Rising Sun", which, at moments, had the band saturated in an appropriate deep red.

At the same time, a crowd gathered at the Community House to watch the Bill Brust Band perform an upbeat, spirited set, which outlined the individual talents of each performer, who, at one point, followed one another with impressive solos.

After a 15-minute fireworks display launched from the Industrial Park, much of the crowd that had emerged from Main Street locations including the firehouse headquarters moved back into St. Paul's Lutheran Church, where the Dependents had finished their set and lights came on for the local area's only performance by the Sun Mountain Band, who, as always, performed an eclectic, exciting set, featuring originals and covers, including "Wagon Wheel" written by Bob Dylan and recently popularized by Darius Rucker.

Taking a moment away from the Bill Brust Band's performance, Mayor Bernard Barnes commented of Last Night, "It's a great time -- a great opportunity for the public to enjoy themselves on new year's eve. I'm having a great time. I always do."

Barnes noted that he has attended not only the three Last Night events in St. Johnsville, but the ones in Fort Plain and Canajoharie as well. "I try to support all the communities," he said adding, "I'm having a great time. I always do."

Barnes and Event Chair Robert Smith set up a committee to plan 2013's Last Night a year and a half ago, Barnes noted, so Smith could have adequate time to attend Fort Plain's event 2012 event, accumulating ideas for St. Johnsville's celebration.

Barnes wished the people of the village not only a wonderful evening, but a great new year, stating, "I want to wish them all a happy new year. Hopefully we can move forward and continue to have another successful year in the village."

Next year's Last Night event will be held in Canajoharie.

Joshua Thomas - Bathed in blue light, Jocelyn Arndt, lead singer of The Dependents, performs at St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

Joshua Thomas - Bathed in purple light, Jocelyn Arndt, lead singer of The Dependents, performs at St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

Joshua Thomas - Valerie Hoffman plays bass in The Dependents.

Joshua Thomas - Isaben Quin Yezierski takes a successful crack at the Wolfpack pinata at the St. Johnsville Youth Center.

Joshua Thomas - Kids scramble for candy at the St. Johnsville Youth Center during Tuesday's Last Night celebration.

Joshua Thomas - The Bill Brust Band performs at the St. Johnsville Community House.

Joshua Thomas - A square dance at the House of Bread is led by the Delnero Family Band.

Joshua Thomas - The Delnero Family Band leads a square dance at the House of Bread.

Joshua Thomas - During a square dance at the House of Bread, participants raise their hands to let dancers run through to the outside before returning to the center of the circle.

Joshua Thomas - Participants of a House of Bread square dance cluster in the center of a human circle.

Joshua Thomas - Fireworks explode over Mechanic Street in St. Johnsville Tuesday night.

Joshua Thomas - The Sun Mountain Band performs their only area show of 2013.

Joshua Thomas - Dick Solberg, of the Sun Mountain Band, plays St. Paul's Lutheran Church Tuesday during Last Night.

     

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