Every spring, the Peekskill Riverfront blossoms in color, thanks to the gift of 100 cherry trees planted there in 2019 in honor of the Rotary Club of Peekskill’s 100th Anniversary.
The 5th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival and Plant Sale will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2022.
The many-splendored event features food trucks, 30 craft vendors, raffles, children’s activities (such as flower pot painting), seed planting, arts & crafts, games, bouncy slides, and more.
Held from 10 a.m.–5 p.m., rain or shine, the event is free. Sponsored by Peekskill Rotary, all proceeds go back to the local community and to international projects through Rotary International.
How Did the 100 Cherry Trees Get Planted at the Peekskill Riverfront?
The idea of gifting 100 cherry trees started in 2014, with a goal of planting 20 per year so that by the Peekskill Rotary Club’s 100th Anniversary on October 1, 2019, that number of trees would be in place at the Riverfront.
The Peekskill Rotary Club sought approval for the donation by the Peekskill City Council in a letter stating, “We want to share our success with the city we call home by making a lasting contribution to the revitalization of the riverfront as we move towards Rotary’s next century of service to Peekskill.” The gift, valued at $80,000, was formally accepted by the Council on May 23, 2016.
The placement of the trees was designed to not block the views of the river, and also to be viewable by train commuters. You’ll see them starting behind the Lincoln Depot, along the train line, and on the trail toward China Pier, where the last of the 100 can be seen.
Chappy Manzer, a Rotarian, with his company Manzer’s Landscape & Design, purchased, planted, and watered the trees for the Club, at a greatly reduced cost.
He chose two varieties of cherry trees, Yoshina and Kwanzan. Yoshina, also known as the Japanese flowering cherry, has a vibrant display of white-pink blossoms. Kwanzan cherry has deep pink double-blossoms and stunning leaves that change colors throughout the seasons. The two types are responsible for the spectacular blossoming show each spring in Washington, D.C.
April 30 is Day One for Free Dry Stone-Walling Class
High school students can apply to attend a free three-day class that starts April 30 (Cherry Blossom Day) at the Riverfront. Students will l learn the technique of constructing high quality stonework from professional instructors. For more information > peekskillrotary.com.
Rotary Club’s Motto Is ‘Service Above Self’
The Cherry Blossom Festival is a free event for the entire community and also is a major fundraiser. Along with the Fall Festival (which will replace the Annual Horse Show that ran for 50 years), it is one of the primary vehicles for the Club to raise money that funds grants to local and international causes.
Since the Club’s founding in 1919, raising funds for worthy causes has been Job One. Rotary is an all-volunteer organization of about 90 members, currently led by Luis Segarra as President.
Projects Supported by Peekskill Rotary
Education – Peekskill Rotary grants 10 Scholarships to college, camps, and leadership programs, ranging from music to vocational education to first-generation Americans, and more. The “Literacy Lovers” project has donated more than 35,000 books to Peekskill children and local libraries.
Food Grants – Caring for the Hungry and Homeless of Peekskill (CHHOP) has received weekly meals prepared and served by Rotarians for many years. During the pandemic, local restaurants kept their doors open thanks to grants to provide food to first responders and to Peekskill residents. Including Food Bank of Westchester, more than $50,000 was granted in 2021.
Charities – Many local and international organizations have benefited from grants by Peekskill Rotary Foundation. Areas of special interest include help for polio, cancer, Alzheimer’s, autism, military veterans, drug prevention and rehabilitation, and Salvation Army.
Other Projects – The goal of donating 100 pints of blood, was reached in March 2022, a project started by Don Rizzo when he was Peekskill Rotary President. Lower energy-use light bulbs have been given away to replace higher-use bulbs, an idea supported by Vinod Chitkara. A mobile mammogram unit was set up to be used at no cost, a suggestion started and implemented by Luis Segarra.
Past Permanent Gifts – In addition to the 100 Cherry Trees planted at the Riverfront, the Peekskill Rotary has donated the VA Healing Garden in Montrose, Rotary Walk at NewYork- Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, Rotary Knolls shelter in Depew Park, 9/11 Monument at the Riverfront.
For more information peekskillrotary.com
Vendors at Cherry Blossom Festival
Knot of This World Pretzels
New England’s Finest Lobster
Three Little Pigs
Abby on the Run (quilted items + jewelry)
Alice Gift Design
A Blend Above (dips)
Bird Feeders and Greeting Cards by Mima Handleman
Candles by Diana Lauren
Collage Art & Accessories
Double Docs (home goods)
Drifting the Hudson (driftwood art)
Duke the Colors (dye)
Hudson Herbivore (macrame)
It’s Paperish (wreath, fabric flowers)
Jenny Wooh Clothing
Jessie Sweet Treats
Liz Peterson Photo (paper art + photos)
LLF Studio (handmade jewelry)
Mary’s Custom Jewelry
Nemeth Orchard (baked goods)
Nips & Paws (dog products)
School of Rock
Tara’s Treasures (jewelry, dreamcatchers)
Touch of Colour (henna body art)
Tastefully Simple (prepared food program)
Westchester Boards (charcuterie)