Gardiner Cupcake Festival this Saturday at Wright’s Farm

cupcakes @Cupcakes have been having a moment for the past few years now. Still among the most searched recipes on Martha Stewart’s website, the cupcake is a classic for a number of reasons: portability, its decorative possibilities, the delicious factor and, in a world where we know the down sides of overindulging in sweets, the cupcake’s inherent ability to deliver just the right amount of bad.

And speaking of classic, the sixth annual Gardiner Cupcake Festival slated for Saturday, May 17 from 12 noon to 6 p.m. at Wright’s Farm is bringing back the 5K Cupcake Classic to start off the day pre-festival. (In other words, burn off the calories first and then enjoy.) Registration for the popular event – last year’s inaugural race included 130 participants – takes place from 9 to 10 a.m. The race (or walk) through the orchard begins at 10:45 a.m. Register online through Friday, May 16 or at the event on the day of the race. The cost is $35 (no checks).

Mackenzie Boylan, who is among the five generations who have operated the 453-acre family farm, says that they’re hoping that the apple blossoms along the race route will be in full bloom by then. Either way, the 5K route past the trees where pick-your-own apple-picking is done in the fall will be a scenic run against the backdrop of the beautiful Shawangunk Ridge.

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Then, at noon, the actual Cupcake Festival kicks off with live music by the Spillway Band, a three-piece group from Ulster County who play an eclectic mix of rock, country, oldies, R & B, blues and originals. Later in the day, live music will be provided by Black Mountain Symphony and Paul Tryon. Additional entertainment includes line dancing and children’s activities: face-painting, pony rides, bouncy houses and more. For the adults, there’ll be wine and spirit tastings, hard cider and Billy Richards from Skydive the Ranch, who will offer $40 helicopter rides. Food vendors will present a variety of choices, from Mexican to grass-fed burgers and hot dogs.

And the cupcakes: An estimated 30,000 of them will be available, including vegan and gluten-free versions. One can choose from the professional bakeries represented, or try one of the cupcakes presented through the amateur cupcake baking contest, in which anyone can enter his or her homemade creation in one of five categories this year: Best-Tasting, Best-Tasting Cocktail/Beer-Inspired, Best-Decorated, Best-Tasting Cake Pop Creation (a new category this year) and Best Use of Multiple Cupcakes to Create Design (an amazing peacock design won last year in this category).

The Gardiner Cupcake Festival is free to attend. There may be a small fee for parking; that was still up for discussion at presstime.

Gardiner Cupcake Festival, Saturday, May 17, 5K Cupcake Classic 10:45 a.m., Festival 12 noon-6 p.m., Wright’s Farm, 699 Route 208, Gardiner; (845) 255-5300, www.gardinercupcakefestival.com. Read more about local cuisine and learn about new restaurants on Ulster Publishing’s www.DineHudsonValley.com or www.HudsonValleyAlmanacWeekly.com.

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