By HEATHER NELLIS
The Amsterdam community was drawn together Saturday to welcome home the Rugged Rams.
The city’s Recreation Department and The Recorder sponsored a fall festival at the Four Diamonds fields in conjunction with the Greater Amsterdam School District’s annual homecoming parade and football game.
“It’s a nice day for Amsterdam,” said high school Principal David Ziskin. “It’s a logical partnership.”
Several of the day’s events benefited the district’s programs, but just as importantly, strengthened community ties.
“This is the first time I’ve seen anything like this here,” said Tatiana Rodriguez, who said she lives nearby. “It’s a fun thing to do before I watch my daughter participate in the homecoming parade.”
“This is a great event,” said resident Kathleen Nellis. “I really like seeing the community get together in a positive way like this.”
Recreation Department Director Robert Spagnola said the turnout was exactly what he had hoped for.
“Our goal was to get everyone involved, and I think we achieved that,” Spagnola said. “The response has been overwhelming, and it set a great foundation for our first year.”
Spagnola gave credit to several student groups and civic organizations for their help in making the day a success. The high school’s cross country and swim teams respectively helped organize a 5K run sponsored by W1SHFUL:TH1NK1NG, and a pie-eating contest sponsored by Hannaford.
Spagnola said 160 people participated in the 5K, which he credited to physical education teachers’ encouragement of their students.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Spagnola said. “The teachers deserve all the credit in the world.”
The 5K proceeds will benefit the cross country team and W1SHFUL:TH1NK1ING’S recreational programming, while the pie-eating contest benefits the swim team.
The event additionally offered a vendor fair and food, plus participation from various community groups and non-profits like the Amsterdam Family YMCA.