Last year, Esther Sanzo, a poet and beat cop in the Bronx, would have turned 40. She and her sister Liz Glover Wilson always talked about what they would "do to each other" on their 40th birthdays. But Wilson celebrated hers without her sister. When Sanzo passed in June 2012, Wilson went to clean out her apartment and discovered artwork that Wilson had meant to throw away but which Sanzo had saved and framed. Wilson, an event producer and fundraising consultant, was privately an artist. "Esther always really saw me and who I truly am." So to honor her sister, last summer Wilson threw a sort of birthday party filled with things Sanzo had been passionate about (sunflowers, music, cultural diversity, food and drink, community, and fun). And the Sunflower Art Festival in Gardiner was born.
Now celebrating its second year, the Sunflower Art Festival is a locally-sourced community festival held for one day each summer in a beautiful field by the Shawangunkill River on the grounds of Tuthilltown Distillery in Gardiner. There’s live music on three stages throughout the day, including the local favorite Mike + Ruthy Band
(don't miss their Summer Hoot
two weeks later) and music of all genres. A farm and craft marketplace
sports twenty vendors, and a food park
with all sorts of BBQ and goodies, including cold brew coffee and pressed juice, plus a beer, wine and spirits garden, featuring the Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery Festival Bar. New this year is a swanky shade tent, and a water truck where festival-goers can get fresh, free refills in their Sunflower Art Festival water bottles.
With art taking the lead at the festival, there’s a collaborative community art project, a roster of contributing artists showcasing the rich artistic diversity in the region, and the Esther's Kids art tent
where Little Van Goghs
create a beautiful piece of art to call their own. This year, they're making chimes, bird houses, wood paintings, straw hats, and sunflowers with 26-year veteran art teacher Andrea Stetson and her staff from Sunflower Art Studios
in Gardiner - a non-profit arts organization dedicated to bringing visibility and accessibility to the arts without economic division. The Esther’s Kids art tent
is free, with no pre-registration required. It’s open 10a-3p, offering arts and crafts projects, individual and group art, face painting, games, and a healthy snack and juices for all young participants. Kids under 12 create with guardian support. Learn more on their Facebook event page
The Sunflower Art Festival promises to be the perfect day trip for the whole family.
The Sunflower Art Festival, a free one-day community festival at Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery, 14 Grist Mill Lane in Gardiner: 8.13.16; 10 am 'til dusk; rain or shine; free admission! Suggested tax-deductible donation of $10 per person comes with a refillable festival water bottle.
Don’t miss the adorable Rabbit Skin onesies in super-cute designs on sale at the festival and online at the good shop!