Highland Hudson Fest returns for second year

Hudson Peplow displays a handmade birdhouse at last year’s Highland HudsonFest. (Photo by Megan Labrise)

Next week the second annual Highland HudsonFest will again highlight local winemakers, restaurants, farms, merchants and artists that make the Hudson Valley — and more specifically Ulster County and Highland itself — a special place to live.

The event takes place where the Hudson Valley Rail Trail meets the Walkway Over the Hudson. And in the eyes of the event’s organizers, that’s nothing but a good thing.

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“It was just a natural place to have vendors,” HudsonFest planner Eric Norberg explained. “On a Columbus Day weekend, there’s in excess of 1,000 people who come to the Walkway.”

The Walkway Over the Hudson State Park has been a boon for Highland, which has seen a growth in tourism because of the unique linear park. While the festival is admittedly still growing — and people are getting used to the idea of coming out in early October to check out vendors near the bridge — it has a huge capacity for growth.

As Highland HudsonFest expands, the vendors will merely set up shop farther down the rail trail. “The great thing about having it on the trail is that it is somewhat unlimited,” said Norberg, who is a member of the town’s event committee and the vice president of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association.

It its own way, Oct. 9’s HudsonFest will both draw attention to local merchants, artisans, farmers and winemakers, but it will also help promote the rail trail and the Walkway. “It’s really a mixture of everything that represents the community.”

One day before, on Saturday, Oct. 8, the people in charge of HudsonFest are also holding a special fundraiser called “An Evening Under the Stars! Gala.” Tickets to the fancy evening of dinner and dancing will cost $125 per person or $1,200 for a table of 10 people. People who come can bid in a silent auction, they can dance to the music of the band CloudNYne and they can sip wine from J Lohr Vineyards.

Proceeds will go to support the rail trail.

An Evening Under the Stars! Gala will start up at 6 p.m. on Oct. 8, and it will be at 75 Haviland Road, in Highland. Seats are limited, but you can reserve a spot by calling 691-2066.

Highland HudsonFest itself kicks off at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9 and will go on for most of the day until 6 p.m.

For more information about either of the events, head to www.hudsonfest.com. ++

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