August Holidays and Observances
August 1     Colorado Day
August 2     Friendship Day – Lammas (Cross Quarter Day)
August 3     Ernie Pyle Day in New Mexico
August 4     Coast Guard Day
August 14    Atlantic Charter Day – World War II Day in Arkansas
August 16    National Airborne Day – Bennington Battle Day in Vermont
August 17    National Aviation Day
August 20    Admission Day in Hawaii
August 26    Women’s Equality Day
August 30    Huey P. Long’s Birthday in Louisiana

August is a summer month with sometimes oppressive heat and humanity. Many annual festivals and weekly concerts in parks throughout the region continue through August. College students cut their summer short as many classes begin before Labor Day. Clothing and school supply sales are common for families with school children.
It is harvest time for the home gardener. For those without a garden, fresh vegetables of many kinds are available at Utica’s Union Station on Saturdays, Clinton Green on Thursdays, and other regional farmers’ markets.

Woods and fields are quieter now, as most birds stop singing as often by late July. Crickets chirping are a common sound of late summer.

Many refugees and other immigrants and newcomers might not be aware of our rich colonial and Revolutionary War era history, or the history of the Erie Canal and railroads in the mid-nineteenth century.

Two hundred forty years ago, colonial forces of the Tryon County Militia, led by General Nicholas Herkimer, along with a few dozen Oneida Indians were on their way to assist in breaking the British siege of Fort Stanwix. They were ambushed by British and western Iroquois Indians near the Oneida settlement of Oriska. The bloodiest battle of the war with about eight hundred killed ultimately broke the siege of Fort Stanwix and led to further victories at Saratoga a few weeks later.

Walter D. Edmonds, the North Country writer immortalized this story in Drums Along the Mohawk, followed by a film of the same name. A tribute to those killed in battle, many German immigrants, is held annually on August 6 at the Oriskany Monument.

A modern “Drum Along the Mohawk” is the annual drum and bugle corps competition held in Rome, this year on August 6. This is a colorful musical display of bands playing a wide variety of music with precision drill marching as seen at halftime of football games.

As a historical foot note, as the mail came into use, early letters were addressed to Oriska, NY. This became corrupted to Oriskany, today’s name for the village near the Oriskany Monument dedicated in 1883.

August is a great month to visit any of places mentioned, as well several other historical forts, churches, and private homes of the late eighteenth century.

Another important aspect of local history is the development of the Erie Canal from 1817 through the nineteenth century, followed by the railroads from the 1830s for a few decades. Little Falls holds an annual canal fest in mid-August. In Herkimer, there are canal cruises available. Other canal celebrations are held in Rome and Sylvan Beach. The progress continues on making the entire canal an integrated bicycle trail continuous from Buffalo to the Hudson River.

Enjoy the generally nice and sometimes hot weather of August with a day trip or two to some of the sites listed, or attend one of many regional festivals or annual event listed below.

Regional Festivals and Celebrations in August

August 1-6: Otsego County Fair, Morris
August 5: Brew Fest at the Utica Zoo
August 6: Battle of Oriskany Memorial Recognition at Oriskany Monument
August 6: Drums Along the Mohawk, Drum & Bugle Corps  
Competition, Rome
August 7-13: Canal Festival, Little Fall Canal Park
August 11-13: Capitolfest, Silent and Early Talkies Movie Festival, Capitol Theater, Rome
August 14-20: Madison-Bouckville Antique Show
August 15-20: Herkimer County Fair, Frankfort
August 18-20: Woodsmen’s Field Days, Boonville
August 23-September 4: New York State Fair, Syracuse
August 26: Clinton Art and Music Festival, Clinton 
August 18-20: Woodsmen’s Field Days, Boonville
Several dates through August
Glimmerglass Opera, near Cooperstown
Music Festival (classical) various dates and sites, Cooperstown

In the Night Skies
Moon Phases
August 7      Full Green Corn Moon   Alternative names include: Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon, Hay Moon
August 14     Last Quarter
August 21      New Moon
August 29     First Quarter
Astrology
Leo – heart      July 23-August 22
Virgo – belly     August 23-September 22

In astronomy, a big story is the solar eclipse of August 21. It will not occur here but in a narrow path from the northwest coast to South Carolina.

The moon has conjunctions with Saturn on August 2; below Venus in the morning sky of August 9; the right then above Jupiter on August 24-25, and to the left of Saturn on August 30.

The Perseid Meteor Shower of August 12 will likely be poor, as the fairly large waning gibbous moon rises about 11 p.m. A few meteors may be visible early evening, but the bright moon has a large impact and obscures many but the brightest meteors that typically appear at their peak well after midnight towards dawn.

Rise and set times for Sun, Moon, and visible Planets on August 2. (Celtic Cross Quarter Day of Lammas)

Sunrise:         5:53 a.m.            Sunset      8:20 p.m.
Moonrise :     4:26 p.m.             Moon set: 1:43 a.m.
Mercury:                                  Sets          9:17 p.m.
Venus:         Rises 2:53 a.m.
Mars:           Not visible
Jupiter :                                     Sets        11:01 p.m.
Saturn                                       Sets          2:16 a.m.

 

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