The Country Living Fair returns to the sprawling Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 6 through 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, rain or shine. Organized by Country Living magazine, the fair is a three-day extravaganza of charming down-home décor and upcycled antiques and collectibles displayed in barn after barn on the Fairgrounds, along with plenty of food vendors available and live music to accompany it all.
The intention behind the Country Living Fair, say its organizers, is to bring the pages of the magazine to life for its readers, introducing the fairgoer to the same kind of do-it-yourself crafting, recipes, decorating and lifestyle advice that the publication offers within its pages. The Country Living Fairs have been hugely popular since their inception in 2006, when the first event was held in Ohio, followed by subsequent events in Georgia and Texas. Last year brought the inaugural Northeastern Country Living Fair to Rhinebeck, and if its enthusiastic reception from crowds numbering in the tens of thousands over the three days is indicative of what to expect this year, fans of upscale rustic will want to grab a few extra tote bags and fasten their seatbelts.
The list of vendors selling food, antiques, collectibles and home décor has expanded this year to include more than 200 farms, markets, designers, dealers, studios and boutiques. But what elevates the Country Living Fair above mere flea market status are its design and lifestyle experts, of local and national reputation, who conduct demonstrations and give presentations in hourly programs on cooking, crafting and decorating the Country Living way. The publication’s regular columnist Helaine Fendelman, who appraises antiques for readers by analyzing photographs that they send in to the magazine, will be present on Saturday and Sunday to offer antique appraisals in person in a showlike atmosphere where the audience gets in on the vicarious fun of watching someone else find out how much his or her item is worth.
Other guests of national celebrity include Cari Cucksey, star of HGTV’s Cash & Cari, in which she conducts estate sales and refurbishes old things into new treasures; she’ll be in her booth, an outpost of her Michigan-based shop RePurpose, all weekend long. Kelsey Nixon of the Cooking Channel’s Kelsey’s Essentials will make an appearance, as will entertaining and design expert Michael Devine and Joanne Palmisano, DIY Network project designer and author of two salvage design books.
Familiar faces from our region giving presentations will include chef and restaurant proprietor Agnes Devereaux of the Village TeaRoom Restaurant & Bake Shop in New Paltz; Hammertown Barn’s Joan Osofsky; Kristina Petersen Migoya, baking expert and lecturing instructor at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park; and Greg Draiss, who runs the garden center at the Wappingers Falls Adams Fairacre Farm. Local purveyors will include Accord’s Hudson Valley Seed Library and Tuthilltown Spirits of Gardiner, along with Heidi Haddard, who closed her home décor shop in Gardiner a few months ago but carries on the Hi-Ho concept through events like this.
Something new to the fair this year is the opportunity to check out Country Living’s 2014 House of the Year. Included in the cost of admission, the house will be available to tour by Country Living Fair ticketholders who travel the short distance to it by shuttle buses organized at the Fairgrounds. Visitors to the charming 1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom farmhouse will find it decked out to the nines in Country Living style.