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'We Are Eastchester' Event Going Strong in Third Year

Since 2022, the “We Are Eastchester” Festival has been one of the flagship events on the school calendar, an afternoon not only meant to highlight the connections between our students from Grades K-12 but also to celebrate the rich cultural tapestry of the community as a whole. 

 

On Saturday, Eastchester residents turned out for the third-annual event, evidence that the celebration is as popular now as it was at its inception. Hundreds showed up to take part in the festivities, which included food trucks, games, raffles, live performances from student groups and cultural booths—manned by volunteers—that celebrated the town’s diversity. 

 

EMS teacher and event organizer Cara Dippolito said that she couldn’t have asked for a better turnout—or afternoon—for the event.

 

“The weather was magnificent,” said Dippolito. “We had a steady turnout all day and there were so many volunteers and groups helping out, which was great.”

 

Dippolito said that planning for this Saturday’s event began almost immediately after last year’s festival closed down, and that those putting “We Are Eastchester” together—including the Eastchester Cultural Celebration Committee—were integral in launching another great outing for the town.

 

“It’s definitely a year-long process; we put the date on the calendar last June and we start reaching out to the former year’s participants by October to get a sense of who wants to participate again,” said Dippolito. “And this year we had a few new local vendors donate prizes for our raffles to serve as incentives for people to attend.”

 

Dippolito highlighted the participation of two local performance groups who made their “We Are Eastchester” debuts this year, as members of Soul Steps and the Tuckahoe-based Dream Makers Performing Arts both took the stage, as did countless Eastchester students. Student performance groups included youngsters from Waverly singing numbers from Finding Nemo and both the EHS and EMS Jazz Bands. 

 

EHS Music Chair and Band Director Mark Dodge said that the “We Are Eastchester” performances provided a unique opportunity for secondary-school musicians in the midst of the end-of-year concert calendar, allowing middle schoolers to get a glimpse of where their music can take them by the time they reach high school.

 

“This is one of the reasons we combine our Jazz Band performances for our winter concerts,” said Dodge. “Hopefully this allows students to see exactly what they’ll look like in three or four years, and that hopefully convinces them to stay with the music program because there are so many opportunities for them once they get a little bit older.”

 

Now, with another year of “We Are Eastchester” in the books, Dippolito said work will begin anew to begin preparations for another exciting event in 2025, reaching out to event-goers and volunteers to get feedback before brainstorming on how to improve the much-anticipated celebration.

 

“It’s absolutely everything, it encompasses the whole purpose of the day, and it’s a true end of the year celebration,” said Dippolito. “I just want to thank the community and the Eastchester Cultural Celebration Committee, without whom, this would not have been possible.”