Phools Return to New Paltz

The Phools Parade is one of the largest local art events the encourages artists to show off their talents.
The Phools Parade is one of the largest local art events the encourages artists to show off their talents.

Sculptures, banners and puppets are just some of the things residents will see strutting down New Paltz this April for the second annual Phools Parade: Come As You Art.

Beginning April 16 at 2 p.m., locals will march from New Paltz Middle School and begin descending down Main Street up to Plattekill Avenue and end at Hasbrouck Park. As one of the largest local art celebrations, the event offers participants a chance to showcase their creative side and encourages artists to show their talents.

“Participants are asked to get as artsy and creative as possible,” said Eileen Hedley, the event coordinator. “The goal is a fantastic family and community event celebrating the creative spark in all of us.”

It was a dark, gray and rainy day at last year’s event and Hedley said she was nervous about the turnout. But following an introduction from Julie Novak and Eva Tenuto, grand marshals of Starling Productions, artists of all ages walked the streets, celebrating and embracing the creation of art. The parade had a bagpiper, grand marshals to work up the crowd and Los Doggies, who marched alongside the artists playing their music.

Hedley said last year’s event also included some iconographic artists, artists decorated as famous paintings, crazy colorful hats, masks and creative costumes. Memorable participants were double-headed Loch Ness monsters, hula-hoopers, giant birds, musicians and children’s groups.

“Last year’s parade was a loud and colorful blast of fun,” said Novak. “It was inspiring to see so many people of all ages and backgrounds come out and proudly display their creativity.”

Both Novak and Tenuto were asked to grand marshal the second annual event. Part of Starling Production’s mission is to invent creative opportunities for the local community and Tenuto said the Phool’s Parade does just that.

“Last year was a true success in bringing together family and community in celebration of the arts,” Tenuto said. “Participants invested so much heart in their costume preparation, from the experienced sculptor to the creative child and everyone in between.”

This year’s upcoming parade is to be even better than the previous.

At the March’s conclusion, official judging will take place by local artists and scientists. The judges will be asked to consider artistic creation and creativity. There will be four prizes for adult participants and four prizes for children participants, said Hedley.

The awards ceremony will conclude with performances by Los Doggies & OutKind.

“Phool’s Parade is just one of the many examples of why those of us living in this area are beyond lucky,” Tenuto said.