Repurposed by an arts association and a brewing company, the GARNER historic district, a Civil War-era factory complex in West Haverstraw, is a triumph of adaptive reuse. A warren of cavernous brick warehouses linked by winding alleyways, the former textile complex has a dreamlike quality even on an ordinary day—an industrial wonderland for the modern Alice. And on the weekend of May 18 and 19, the 14-acre compound will explode into life with immersive projections, live music, site-specific installations, and performance art, as guests sample craft beer and partake in the festivities during the annual LAB (Live, Art, Beer) Fest.
The Garner Arts Center, founded in 2003, is dedicated to creating and presenting contemporary, experiential art, providing studio space to nearly 40 artists. LAB Fest is the distillation of this mission, immersing festivalgoers in a whirl of sound, light, shape, and motion that offers something new and different around every turn.
The complex is also home to Industrial Arts Brewing Company, and a distinctive home it is. "The design elements grew out of the renovation of this historic site, which is pretty tech-forward for a small brewer," IAB proprietor Jeff O'Neill told Forbes magazine in 2017. "The contrast and tension between those two factors is pretty cool, you've probably got to see it in person to know what I mean."
For the festival weekend, 40 breweries will be on tap in all, bringing together the Hudson Valley's twin brewing and creative scenes. "Around every corner will be something special to see or hear, and at every beer maker's table, something special to taste," says Kris Burns, Garner's new Creative Director. Eight food trucks will be offering everything from raw foods (Raw Roots Cafe) to wood-fired sourdough pizza (The Hudson Oven), with a strong accent on fresh, local ingredients and variety (ever had craft beer peanut brittle?).
Organizers will be in an especially celebratory mood this year. "This new immersive arts and craft beer festival is being introduced at a strategic moment in the future of the Garner historic district, which has recently secured the necessary approvals from the local government to welcome cafes, restaurants, and boutique retail—a big step towards our long-term vision," says founder and president Robin Rosenberg. "This is the perfect way to kick off that exciting next phase."Free shuttles will convey festivalgoers from MetroNorth and Suffern/New Jersey Transit train stations, as well as from free dedicated parking areas around town. And despite the craft brew focus (the festival is limited to those 21 and over), those who want to skip the suds and soak up the arts can take advantage of a half-price admission option. (One of the food trucks offers locally roasted coffee.)
Immerse yourself in art, marvel at acrobats, join in the dances, walk the curving Creekside Sculpture Trail, and taste some world-class craft beer. LAB Fest 2019 will take place May 18, 2-6pm, and May 19, 12-4pm. $20-50.