The decision to hold the event on a Saturday has upset members of the Orthodox Jewish community.
Airmont Day has long been a way of bringing the community together in this Rockland village of 9,000.
But the decision to hold this year’s event on a Saturday is being criticized by Sabbath-observant Jewish residents.
“An event like Airmont Day, whose main purpose is community inclusiveness, shouldn’t be scheduled to exclude an entire community,” village resident Moshe Katz, 25, wrote in an “open letter” to the mayor and Board of Trustees and sent to The Journal News/lohud.
The village in early June scheduled the event for Sept. 16 after a survey showed that 65 percent of respondents preferred Saturday to Sunday.
The festive event features typical “community day” fare — food booths, music, kids activities and promotions for local businesses.
Airmont Day goes back to 1994, three years after the village’s incorporation. It was not held for four years earlier this decade but returned on a Sunday in May 2016 for the village’s 25th anniversary.
Airmont Mayor Phillip Gigante said some residents asked in the spring whether Airmont Day could be held on a Saturday. Rather than make a decision based only on them, the village board decided to seek more input through the survey, the mayor said.
“It’s really meant to include everyone,” Gigante said of Airmont Day. “We try our best but this was in the hands of residents.”
He said it was difficult to satisfy everyone with the choice of day. He said other villages, like Suffern and Hillburn, have their community days on Saturdays.
Both have populations with far lower percentages of Orthodox Jews than Airmont.
The survey asked when Airmont Day and the village’s spring tag sale should be held. It was posted on the village’s Facebook page on May 15 and sent by email to about 600 residents. Copies were also placed at Village Hall and at senior club meetings.
There were three reminder posts about the survey on Facebook before the responses were tallied in mid-June. The May 24 Facebook post reached 1,480 people and the final one on June 14 reached 1,173 people, according to village spokeswoman,…