Woodstock’s 81 st Library Fair holds the community together

At last year’s 80th Library Fair.

“It’s the happiest party Woodstock has ever had,” enthused Michael Perkins, who has helped organize many years of the Woodstock Library Fair, including the upcoming 81st edition of the annual event, to be held on Saturday, July 28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Honorary Fair Chair and Radio Woodstock 100.1 FM General Manager Gary Chetkof will cut the ribbon to open the Fair to the first of approximately 3000 visitors, if recent years are any indication. Soon-to-be-retired Congressman Maurice Hinchey will be on hand as the Fair offers him a tribute.

Hinchey will be the Guest of Honor and will be presented with a gift from the Friends of the Library in a special ceremony. The congressman will speak at noon. “We are thrilled that Maurice will be at the fair and that we can thank him for his four decades of public service,” said Sheila Isenberg and Lesile Siegel, of Friends of the Library.

This year Janice King, visiting from her home in Washington state, will return as Fair co-Chair along with Freya DeNitto. After chairing many fairs, King moved to Walla Walla eight years ago, but she calls the Fair “well worth traveling across the country for. It offers something for everyone.”

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As usual, attendees will dine on Food Fare, with the best from local restaurants, including vegetarian options, as well as summer favorites from the grill. The White Elephant tent is full of antiques and choice collectibles. An exhibitor’s tent features items handmade by local craftspeople, as well as several authors, including Will Nixon, who co-wrote, with Perkins, the just-published Pocket Guide to Woodstock.

A huge children’s area will have games, crafts, and other attractions to keep the kids happy. The Book Barn has thousands of used books for sale. Non-profit organizations will set up a line of tables along Library Lane, offering materials and conversation about such issues as fracking, the Hudson Valley Food Bank, and the Woodstock Land Conservancy. Tickets will be available for the Great Expectations raffle, with a first prize of a 16GB wireless iPad3 and over 100 other prizes.

Live music all day long will be emcee’d by Studio Stu. See highlighted box for the music schedule.

Perkins praised the dozens of volunteers whose diligence has made the Fair possible, including Music Chair Barry Miller; Book Sale Chair, Leslie Siegel; Children’s co-Chairs Jessica Dearden and Jen DeLisio; Food Chair, Sondra Howell; and many others. The event is sponsored by Friends of the Library with support from Ulster Savings Bank and area restaurants and purveyors.

“This can be a politically divided town,” said Perkins, “but the Fair brings everybody together. They lay down their weapons and just talk and enjoy themselves.”

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