Even an institution as long-established (32 years) and consistently well-attended as the Woodstock/New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair needs to keep thinking up ways to reach new audiences. Up-and-coming generations may not yet have the purchasing power of middle-aged fairgoers, but it’s never too soon to start getting them into the habit of attending (and spending). And how does one engage the interest of a generation that has grown up on computer and video gaming? Why, with more interactivity, of course!
That’s probably why the folks at Quail Hollow Events have decided to spotlight hands-on demonstrations at this year’s Memorial Day weekend event at the Ulster County Fairgrounds. Live demos of how artisans do their work have long been a staple of the Crafts Fair, but this time there are going to be lots more opportunities for visitors to try their hand at crafts that intrigue them. The Catskill Mountain Artisans’ Guild will be in charge of the demonstration tent, and it’s promising workshops both for kids and for adults pretty much all day long, for all three days of the Fair. Here’s the lineup:
Saturday, May 25:
10 a.m. – Adults: Weaving with Tabitha Gilmore-Barnes; Kids: Nature Crafts with Eva Fox
12 noon – Adults: Recycled Wearables with Eva Fox; Kids: Weaving with Tabitha Gilmore-Barnes
2 p.m. – Adults: Wood-Turning with George Olsen; Kids: Stone-Painting with Becky Nielsen
Sunday, May 26:
10 a.m. – Adults: Dyeing Techniques with Nat Thomas; Kids: Felting with Jill Cline
12 noon – Adults: Frame Art with JoAnn Chmielowski; Kids: Collage with Nat Thomas
2 p.m. – Adults: Fused Glass with Barbara English; Kids: Paper-Marbling with Val Wells
Monday, May 27:
10 a.m. – Adults: Metalworking with Cathie Shultis; Kids: Wooden Toymaking with John Knapp
12 noon – Adults: Woodworking with John Knapp; Kids: Weaving Rainbow Paper Crowns with Lisa Scalf
2 p.m. – Adults: Spinning with Karen Lloyd; Kids: Papier-Mâché with Cathie Shultis
Says Quail Hollow co-director Scott Rubinstein, “The Catskill Mountain Artisans’ Guild, of Margaretville, New York, is one of the most successful guild stores in the Northeast. They screen their artists and craftspeople very carefully. The gallery/store is laid out elegantly, with the artists themselves manning the store. It’s a great honor to have them on board for the fairs, and we are confident this is just the beginning of an exciting venue for our shows.”
If moving among hundreds of clever craftspeople and their wares always makes you fantasize about being able to do this sort of thing yourself, here’s your chance to give several different crafts a try. But if your ideal day at this semiannual event is all about buying beautiful objects, or just drooling over beautiful objects that you wish you could afford, fear not: There will be, as always, plenty going on to keep you happy. As always, there will be live music and plenty of food vendors for when you’re ready to get off your feet for a while.
The Fair opens at 10 a.m. all three days and stays open until 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday but closes at 4 p.m. on Memorial Day itself. The Ulster County Fairgrounds are located at 249 Libertyville Road, on the west bank of the Wallkill River, just a couple of miles outside of downtown New Paltz, and have a smashing view of the Gunks. Since Main Street/Route 299 and the Carmine Liberta Bridge tend to get badly clogged with traffic on Crafts Fair weekends, take a tip from the locals and come around the long way, accessing Libertyville Road from Route 44/55 in Gardiner. Parking is ample and free.
The price of admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and free for children under age 12. If you’re willing to give the Quail Hollow folks your e-mail address for their mailing list, you can get a coupon good for a $1 discount – along with lots more info about the Fair – at www.quailhollow.com.
Woodstock/New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair, Saturday/Sunday, May 25/26, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday, May 27, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $8/$7, Ulster County Fairgrounds, 249 Libertyville Road, New Paltz; www.quailhollow.com.