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County celebrates the past

Schenectady Colonial Festival focuses on regional history

People are typically heavily influenced by modern technology in their life, but residents can revisit their roots during the Schenectady Colonial Festival.

It is a little educational, it is a lot of fun and it gives people an appreciation for what a treasure we have here in Schenectady, said Maureen Gebert, director of the Schenectady Heritage Area.

For over a week, from Friday, Feb. 4, to Sunday, Feb. 13, the City of Schenectady will host several events highlighting the early history of the area. One of the main events is artist Len Tantillo, known for his illustrations of historic sites throughout the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys, giving a presentation at the First Reformed Church in Schenectady.

"[Tantillo] is very detailed and he does a tremendous amount of research so he has every detail correct," said Gebert. "Over the past couple of years he has done a lot more in Schenectady than he had before."

The picture in Schenectady's City Hall is also by him, she noted, and he also has done a picture of what stockade would have looked like before The Schenectady Massacre. Also, the festival is always held around the dates of the massacre in 1690, she said, to celebrate how the community rebuilt themselves.

During another event with Tantillo at the Glen Sanders Mansion on Tuesday, Feb. 8, starting at 4 p.m. there will be a chance to meet him and see a planned showing of his work. Also, findings from the Schenectady County Community College archaeology program will be shown at the dinner.

"They were able to do this, because they got a grant in 2009 to rent some ground penetrating radar to see what is going on down there," said Gebert about the college's program. "Most of the stuff in Schenectady is untouched it is just the way it is left. We discover more and more and it is in its original form."

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