By no means does the revelry end when summer turns to fall in the Hudson Valley. Every year, the colorful autumn brings a rich itinerary of fairs and festivals that simultaneously reward the minds and palates of locals and visitors with stimulating culture and tempting upstate delicacies. In light of this, Chronogram presents a cornucopia overflowing with the area’s most recommended seasonal happenings.
Festival of Books
September 4–6, 12–13. Spencertown Academy’s fourth annual Festival of Books promises thousands of books for sale plus timely talk and readings by noted authors, poets, and other speakers. Among those appearing this year are Victor Navasky, former editor and publisher of The Nation, writer Mary Gaitskill, and the perfectly named best-selling author Francine Prose. Spencertown. (518) 392-3693; www.spencertownacademy.org.
Hooley on the Hudson
September 6. Every year this popular cavalcade of Celtic music and culture turns the historic Rondout district of Kingston into a tartan-kilted, pennywhistling, wildly jigging outdoor bash. Along with marching pipe and drum bands, there’s a storytelling tent, dancers, and indigenous Irish food and crafts. The two live music stages host traditional acts from around the area and abroad. Kingston. (845) 338-6622; www.ulsteraoh.com.
Woodstock-New Paltz Arts & Crafts Fair
September 5–7. This eagerly awaited Labor Day weekend bazaar at the Ulster County Fairgrounds promises more than 300 craftspeople and artists, continuous craft demonstrations, furniture and architectural crafts, specialty foods, healthcare products, and a wide sampling of entertainment. The children’s tent makes it a natural for out-and-about families. New Paltz. (845) 245-3414; www.quailhollow.com.
Bethel Woods Harvest Festival
September 6–October 11. Held on the site of the original 1969 Woodstock music festival, this annual festival occurs on Sundays from August 30 through Columbus Day weekend, rain or shine, with a different theme each week; on top of a farmers market, pony rides, arts and crafts, music, food, and other attractions, 2009’s roster includes the Alpaca Festival (September 6), Earth Day in Autumn (September 20), and Chili Day (October 4). Bethel Woods. (866) 781-2922; www.bethelwoodscenter.org.
Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest
September 12–13. Our area is well known as one of America’s oldest wine-growing regions: a marvel celebrated annually by this taste-making—in every sense—weekend at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. With hundreds of local wines, and others from the Finger Lakes to Long Island and beyond, as well as over a hundred related vendors, the event has been known to pull in over 20,000 visitors. Rhinebeck. (845) 658-7181; www.hudsonvalleywinefest.com.
Tivoli Street Painting Festival
September 26. With each season this whimsical celebration of impermanent outdoor art acquires more willing participants; this year upward of 75 artists are set to once again turn this quaint village into a confluence of colorful creations. Adding to the draw is music, vendors, and the Children’s Quilt, which lets young artists chalk up their own square of pavement. (Rain date: September 27). Tivoli. (845) 757-2021; www.tivoliny.org.
Hudson Valley Garlic Festival
September 26–27. Garlic ice cream? Believe it! That treat, along with many other must-try delicacies, plus entertainment, crafts, lectures, children’s activities, and more, will be at Cantine Field for the sampling at this dependable perennial. If you’ve never been, 2009 is your year to experience that which, at last count, attracted a whopping 53,000 garlic lovers. Saugerties. (845) 246-3090; www.hvgf.org.
African American Culture and Heritage Festival
October 3–4. Throughout the Hudson Valley’s history, African Americans have played crucial roles in its social and cultural development. This event at the historic Senate House offers opportunities to learn about the contributions of African Americans over the centuries, in our region and beyond, through performances, demonstrations, food, and hands-on activities. Kingston. (845) 338-2786;
Heart of the Hudson Valley Bounty Festival
October 3. This happening at Cluett-Schantz Memorial Park emphasizes the importance of upstate agriculture. Held in one of the area’s most fertile regions, the festival features agri-culinary competitions by local farms and restaurants, a homemade goods contest and pageant, a farming-oriented scavenger hunt, and a farmers market. Milton. (845) 464-2789; www.hvbountyfestival.com.
Hunter Mountain Oktoberfest
October 3–4, 10–11. Another longtime regional favorite, this modern celebration of the harvest presents authentic German and German-American entertainment in the beauty of the northern Catskills. Highlights include a farmers market, plenty of vendors, free crafts and pumpkin painting for the kids, and much more. Lederhosen not required. Hunter. (800) 486-8376 ext. 2200; www.huntermtn.com.
New York State Sheep & Wool Festival
October 17–18. Established in 1972, this gala at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, is one of the nation’s largest get-togethers for knitters, crocheters, and other fiber artists, as well as for breeders of natural fiber-producing livestock. In addition to vendors and crafts, the festival features sheepdog trials, a leaping llama contest, and more. Pick up that stylish scarf or sweater for the coming winter. Rhinebeck. www.sheepandwool.com.
International Pickle Festival
November 22. Celebrating its first dozen years, this hit pick at the Rosendale Community Center lives up to its name, attracting interest from India and Japan. The briny brouhaha boasts endless varieties of pickles as well as ethnic music and dance. A coloring contest and pickle balloons will delight the kids. Rosendale. (845) 658-9649; www.picklefest.com.