Fountaingate residents show off their tie-dye and ’60s garb. Photo courtesy of Gurwin Healthcare System.

Despite summer 2023 coming to a close, the summer of 1969 remained in the minds of Gurwin Healthcare System residents and staff when they recently celebrated the 54th anniversary of Woodstock.

Woodstock was more than just a musical festival, it was also a cultural movement,” said Kathleen Biggs, assistant director of therapeutic recreation at Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.  “It was so wonderful to bring our residents back to that time and for them to share memories of the ’60s and the significance of the festival.”

Each Gurwin community celebrated the anniversary in its own unique way but there was no shortage of bright tie-dye and “flower power.” At the Gurwin Center, recreation therapist Johanna Cutuolo serenaded the crowd with folk songs sung at the legendary concert while strumming her guitar. Other activities included a peace sign kaleidoscope craft, and a vintage Volkswagen “hippie van” photo booth for social media posting for friends and family.  Meanwhile, Gurwin’s Adult Day Care Programs participated in an outdoor festival with a live concert performance, henna tattoos, tie-dye activities and a hippie-style beaded jewelry craft. 

Clad in vintage denim and tie-dye, the Fountaingate Gardens community savored a Woodstock-themed happy hour with music, food and swapping stories about the concert. Fountaingate Gardens member Carol Sanderson may have never made it to the original Woodstock but the festival’s spirit still resonates with her today. 

“Growing up in California, I remember my friends and I desperately wanting to attend Woodstock,” said Sanderson. “Although I wasn’t able to make it to New York, I do have fond memories of our West Coast version of Woodstock at Stanford University in 1967. I remember seeing Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane. [It] was an opportunity for everyone to escape into music and to spread the message of unity and peace.”