Honoring, celebrating village standouts

Durand Van Doren (right), local blacksmith and artisan, on Durand Day, May 29, 2019. Doren suffered a stroke in June.
Durand Van Doren (right), local blacksmith and artisan, on Durand Day, May 29, 2019. Doren suffered a stroke in June.
Photo provided

Trumansburg is nothing if not a generous community, and this month, Trumansburg is honoring two notable community members with fundraisers and memorials that are worth noting and contributing to: Strike Back at Durand’s Stroke and the Sgt. James Johnston Memorial Fundraiser.

Strike Back at Durand’s Stroke

Durand Van Doren is a local blacksmith and artisan whose work can be recognized in Trumansburg, Ithaca and beyond.

According to the GoFundMe campaign created for him, “Durand Van Doren and his wife, Sandy List, have been an integral part of the Trumansburg community for many years, generously sharing their talents and time to the benefit of Trumansburg through their service to the arts, youth programs, and the local Rotary Club.”

In June, Durand suffered a stroke to his cerebellum affecting primarily movement and coordination on his left side. Durand is an artist-blacksmith and is left-handed, so his writing, drawing, walking, balance, motor skills and, needless to say, his hammering skills, have all been affected.

In the blacksmithing world, “strike” is in common usage. There is, of course, basic ironworking advice: “Strike while the iron is hot!”

“The helper who helps a master pound out a heavy piece is called the striker and, with his hammer, the smith directs the striker where to hit,” the GoFundMe page said. “By contributing to this GoFundMe page, you can help Durand strike back at his stroke.”

The Ulysses Town Board declared May 29 as Durand Day, which was two weeks prior to the stroke. Durand was honored at the Trumansburg Farmers Market for his decades-long contributions to his community.

Support for Van Doren will be used to help pay hospital bills and keep his shop up and running, allowing him to assist his helper in completing jobs that were promised prior to the stroke.

Sgt. Johnston memorial

A memorial fundraiser will be held to honor Trumansburg’s Sgt. James Johnston and his wife Krista on Saturday, Aug. 31 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Trumansburg American Legion. Johnston was 24 when he died in combat on June 25, 2019, in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, leaving behind his wife Krista and unborn daughter, Jamie Avery Grace.

Prior to the fundraiser, there will be a procession to the memorial, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Enfield Fire Station, and will proceed past Johnston’s childhood home and through the Village to the Legion. The fundraiser will include a chicken barbeque, raffle items and 50/50 raffle.

Trumansburg Fair

In other village news, the Trumansburg Fair will return for the 169th year Aug. 20-25. The fair offers exciting midway rides and grandstand shows, including demolition derbies, figure eight races, horsepulls and a monster truck race.

Music returns to the fair this year, with The Presenze, a Led Zepplin tribute band followed by Pink Floyd tribute band The Floyd Concept beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Grandstand ticket prices vary depending on the night; Thursday night tickets for the music are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.
In true county fair tradition, the Trumansburg Fair also offers agricultural and domestic goods exhibits and contests, an educational opportunity in history and tradition that should not be overlooked.

Saturday of the Fair presents the annual Fireman’s Parade, which begins at the Trumansburg Fire Hall and proceeds to the Fairgrounds beginning at 4 p.m. Join the Ulysses Philomathic Library for its Fireman’s Parade Lawn Party with book giveaways, popsicles, lawn games and one of the best locations in town to view the parade.

Letting Out the Laughs

Rounding out the month is Letting Out the Laughs at Brew’s and Brat’s at Autumn View on Aug. 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. This event features Trumansburg’s own stand-up comedian Kieth Hannon.

“Keith Hannon began his lackluster descent into stand-up comedy as a student at Ithaca College,” according to the Facebook event. “After graduation, he went against his parents’ wishes and took the pursuits to Los Angeles, where he performed regularly at several clubs, including the Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard. Now, Hannon has three children and finds nothing in life funny but performs on occasion because it’s an excuse to get out of the house.”

The event also features Binghamton comedian Mike Peters, Deidre Mollura, a co-founder to the Itha-ha comedy group, Bill Lake, a former contributing writer for David Letterman, Craig Ferguson, and Syracuse Funny Bone host and Cortland native Paul Kozlowski.

Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 for the show and dinner, which includes a brat and a side. Show-only tickets are $10. Learn more about the comedians on their Facebook page: facebook.com/events/723579731397078/.


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