Story by Leni Santoro with Photos by Leni Santoro and Carol Montana
LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY – Coinciding with the Trout Parade, this year’s Johnny Darling Frolic and Festival will take place on Saturday, June 12 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Waterwheel Junction at the corner of Main Street and Rock Avenue in Livingston Manor, thanks to the generosity of Shirley and George Fulton, owners of the Wildlife Gift Shop.
The Johnny Darling Frolic is sponsored by the Livingston Manor Free Library; in part by a 2010 Decentralization Grant (DEC) given by the New York State Council on the Arts and administered by the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA).
The Johnny Darling Frolic Line-Up:
- 2:00 – 3:00 The Little Sparrow Band from Sullivan County
- 3:00-3:15 Iris Gillingham of Livingston Manor Irish High Step Dancing
- 3:15-3:45 Mike Vreeland of Youngsville, Song writer and performer of Children’s Music
- 3:45-4:00 Johnny Darling Story McAvoy orator
- 4:00-4:40 Dangerous Curves Female Barbershop Quartet from Washingtonville
- 4:40-5:00 Johnny Darling Story orated by Steve Dill of Debruce (founder of Labor Day parade in Debruce
- 5:00-6:00 Kurpil Family Fiddlers of Liberty and Jeffersonville
The emcee for the afternoon will be none other than the Honorable Lawrence Hall McAvoy.
Food, as well as arts and crafts vendors will also be at the frolic and in addition, the stellar line up will be video taped by local videographer, Ryan Mead.
A Little Background…
Shandelee resident, Mia Koerner, has been researching Johnny Darling for over twenty years. In 1990 Diane Atkins published a coloring book based on M.Jagendorf’s book, “The Marvelous Adventures of Johnny Darling” as a fundraiser for the fitness court at the Livingston Manor Central School.
According to historical records, Johnny Caesar Cicero Darling was born in 1809. He wasn’t a very tall man, but he made up for it with his adventures and the “tall” tales he readily shared with any who would listen. If he were alive today he would be 201 years old.
The records show that Johnny Darling lived in Shandelee and liked to go to town; where on Purvis Island (now the sight of the Livingston Manor Central School) he would set about telling his stories. He spent his last days at an infirmary in Monticello, but never could stand confined spaces and set about for home on foot. Some say he still wanders the woods around Livingston Manor waiting for an opportunity to tell one more tale.
These days Johnny Darling makes rare appearances, but two places you can always catch a glimpse of him are the Livingston Manor Trout Parade – where his likeness has been re-created by artist Bud Wertheim in a giant puppet that always rides down Main Street surrounded by his supporters and fans and at the Johnny Darling Frolic held this year in his honor at Waterwheel Junction on June 12 from 2 to 6 p.m.
The Livingston Manor Free Library, beside being the sponsor of the Johnny Darling Frolic, is also one of the few places where you can find a rare out of print book written by M. Jagendorf in 1940 entitled, “The Marvelous Adventures of Johnny Darling” Jagendorf, a researcher of folk tales and children’s stories, compiled an anthology of over twenty-seven stories told by Darling and remembered by friends and relatives at the time.
To learn more about this remarkable folk hero check out the Livingston Manor Home Page.