Old friends make new memories and raise thousands

By Conor Mooney

July 20, 2013 Updated Jul 20, 2013 at 10:10 PM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) Free food, free music, old friends and new faces were all on display at Recreation Park in Binghamton for the third annual AllSiders Reunion on Saturday.

It's a small festival intended to bring residents of all sides of the city together.

The mood in the park was cheerful. But for a while, cheer wasn't something the organizers felt often.

In fact, the idea for the AllSiders Reunion came after a group of old friends lost someone close to them.

"The truth is, one of my good friends passed away three years ago, I was really tired of seeing my friends over and over again at funeral homes," said Dean De Falco, the organizer of the event.

Another organizer, Jeffery West added, "Everybody was very receptive to the idea of getting everybody together, because we're getting older and people are not in as good of health as they used to be."

The idea was born as friends sat around De Falco's living room.

The reunion grew so big that it filled Conklin Forks Park, and had to be moved to Recreation Park.

Coming together isn't the only item on the agenda, organizers want to give back to the community that gave to them.

Proceeds from raffles and donations help benefit the Broome County United Way and CHOW, the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse.

"We've fallen on hard times here," said De Falco. "If we don't help each other, who's going to help us? We have to do it. It's a grassroots thing."

In 2012, the reunion raised $1,000 for charities. This year, they're hoping for $5,000

Proceeds will be split between CHOW and the Broome County United Way.