Labor Day weekend means that it’s time once again for the Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair, which has bookended the summer season at the Ulster County Fairgrounds for more than three decades. Locals may dread the traffic, but all those visitors come to New Paltz twice a year for good reason. It’s hard to resist the lure of beautifully handcrafted objects that are displayed in such variety and abundance in the Fair’s tents and stalls.
Still vacillating? Here’s another reason to go – one that sets this particular edition of the fair apart from all its previous incarnations: One of the exhibitors will be Pulitzer Prizewinning photojournalist and longtime New York Times photo editor Lonnie Schlein. Best-known as the editor of A Nation Challenged, the book-length collection of Times photography related to the 9/11 attacks, Schlein will be showing and selling prints of his work – which also includes travel photography and celebrity portraits – at the Crafts Fair.
As always, the wares on sale by more than 250 craftspeople will span every imaginable category of handmade goods: pottery, wooden bowls, metal implements, quilts, jewelry, leather goods, furniture, clothing, toys, lamps, wall hangings, picture frames, pens, journals, brooms, figurines, clocks…you name it. There’s also a food tent with gourmet consumables.
The Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, August 30 and 31 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 1. Entry to the Ulster County Fairgrounds costs $8 general admission, $7 for seniors, though you can usually get $1 off the price by checking the website at www.quailhollow.com. Kids age 12 and under get in free, but pets should be left at home; and strollers should be wielded with consideration for the ankles of fellow fairgoers, who can sometimes be packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the main tents.
Continuous live music and a tasty selection of fair food, both healthy and self-indulgent, are part of this Crafts Fair’s perennial appeal, so plan to stay at least half the day. There’s a supervised, hands-on crafts activity tent near the entrance where kids can be left to have fun while you shop. Parking across the road from the Fairgrounds is free and ample.
Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair, Saturday/Sunday, August 30/31, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday, September 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $8/$7, Ulster County Fairgrounds, 249 Libertyville Road, New Paltz; www.quailhollow.com.