Lookalike Contest, Valuable Prizes, Free Refreshments, and more – Saturday Aug. 17th at High Noon – FREE!
On Saturday, August 17, at 12 noon, the statue of Davy Crockett, who for forty years has towered above the two block long Main Street of Phoenicia, New York (pop: 309) as its village mascot, will be re-erected in front of Mystery Spot Antiques at 72 Main Street with a gala celebration to mark the American folk hero’s return (and 227th birthday).
The free event will include an official dedication/ribbon cutting, a performance by the Catskill Ukulele Group, and a Davy Crockett lookalike contest open to kids, adults and pets, with valuable prizes.
“Bring your faux coonskin cap and dress up like Davy!” invites Laura Levine, renowned (and MoMA-exhibited) rock photographer and proprietress of Mystery Spot Antiques, Davy’s new home, just one giant step away from his former perch at the Sportsman’s Alamo Cantina. The grand prizes will be two passes to the Mount Tremper Arts 2014 Summer Festival (value $190.) or a $100 Mystery Spot gift certificate; runners-up will receive valuable gift coupons or cash prizes from Tender Land Home, Town Tinker Tube Rental, Hanover Farms, the Phoenicia Lodge, Ruth Gale Realty, Sweet Sue’s, The Ice Cream Station, and other local businesses. The event is free of charge, and open to everyone. Free refreshments will be provided by The Sportsman’s Alamo Cantina. The event will run from noon to 1 pm.
Davy in his former perch in front of the Sportsman's Alamo Cantina (photo: Laura Levine)
Phoenicia, a tiny hamlet in the Catskill Mountains, is known for its hiking, camping, fly fishing, arts, antiques, restaurants, shopping, leaf peeping and gentle eccentricity. Visitors of all stripes go tubing
down the Esopus Creek, which runs through the center of town. Side by side, Buddhists from the local Zen Mountain Monastery and graphic designers from Brooklyn eat pizza beside motorcycle enthusiasts
at Brio’s or stacks of pancakes at Sweet Sues. The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice attracts over 4,000 visitors to its annual outdoor event. Close to Woodstock, one of the oldest art colonies in America, Phoenicia has been chosen as one of the Top Ten “Coolest Small Towns” by Budget Travel magazine and has long been a well-known secret among savvy New Yorkers looking for a weekend getaway or a summer escape.
Davy Crockett, who bears the sobriquet “King of the Wild Frontier,” was born in East Tennessee in 1786. He had a varied career as frontiersman, Congressman, and warrior at the Alamo, where he died in 1836. Phoenicia’s statue of Davy Crockett is shrouded in mystery. Most local historians agree that it was commissioned by Roy James, transitory owner of the Sportsman’s Bar sometime in the early 1970s. The actual fabricator of the sculpture is unknown.
With a wide smile, slightly downcast eyes, a rifle slung jauntily over his right shoulder, Davy strides forward. The straps from a pouch and a powder horn form an X across his buckskin breeches. Beneath his double row of fringes, Davy wears pants and high boots on his large feet — large even for a 10 foot tall man. The huntsman has surprisingly long hair, like a British pop star. The anonymous artist conveyed a jauntiness rarely seen in fiberglass sculpture, which tends towards an Easter Island rigidity. It is the statue of a man taking joy in his personal freedom. Phoenicia has long been a favorite spot for outdoorsmen, which may have influenced the choice of Davy Crockett as its town symbol. “Young kids like having their picture taken in front of it,” notes Robin Kirk, owner of The Nest Egg, Phoenicia’s general store.
Mike Ricciardella, proprietor of The Sportsman’s, is the fourth owner of Davy. When the statue was brutally vandalized in 2003 — toppled, with only the feet and shins left standing — Mike nursed him back to health. After a flood caused by Hurricane Irene damaged the Sportsman’s patio, Davy Crockett was moved to make way for the jackhammers. Patrons of The Sportsman’s, a venerable Phoenician bar once patronized by Babe Ruth, began worrying about the genial giant. (Little did they realize Davy was tied by a bungee cord to a maple tree behind the bar.)
Robin Kirk, owner of the adjacent property, offered to shelter the fiberglass frontiersman. “I thought about it, and I said, ‘Hey, maybe that’s not a bad idea,” Ricciardella recalls. “This would give him a little more exposure; people could walk right up to him.”
Such sculptures — collectively known as “Muffler Men” — are an endangered American art form, especially in the Catskills. Widely constructed in the 1960s and 70s, often depicting such national folk heroes as Paul Bunyan and Uncle Sam, they since fell out of favor, and were largely abandoned. Phoenicia’s statue of Davy Crockett will feel at home with the rustic salt-and-pepper shakers, bronzed baby shoes, vintage clothing, antique medicine bottles, old records and 1920s cameras for sale at the Mystery Spot, the “Catskills Odditorium” which occupies seven rooms in the former Gormley Hotel on Main Street. “One small step for Davy Crockett, one giant leap for the Mystery Spot!” observes Levine, who is throwing a 20 % off sale all weekend in honor of the event.
After the celebration ends at 1 PM, one can walk across Main Street to attend one of seven episodes of Perfect Lives, a day-long public opera by Robert Ashley, performed by the composer collective Varispeed, presented by Mount Tremper Arts.
The Catskill Ukulele Group, which will be performing “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” at the event, is an offshoot of the Killian Mansfield Ukulele Collection at the Phoenicia Library, which loans ukuleles and offers free group lessons to anyone interested in learning more about ukulele. The Phoenicia Library also loans out fishing poles.
Generous support for Davy Crockett Day has come from the Sportsman’s Alamo Cantina, Mystery Spot Antiques, Tender Land Home, Phoenicia Lodge, Threads of Time, Phoenicia Belle B&B, Ulster Savings Bank, Phoenicia Pharmacy, Hanover Farms, The Print Shop, Ruth Gale Realty, Mount Tremper Arts, Rag & Bone Shop, The Ice Cream Station, Sweet Sue’s, Town Tinker Tube Rental, and the Phoenicia Business Association, among others.
The Facebook event page is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/213967205426978/
For more information or photos, please contact Mystery Spot Antiques, (845) 688-7868, email@example.com, www.mysteryspotvintage.com, www.mysteryspotantiques.com