Third annual Gardiner’s Bounty will feature a pig roast and eclectic activities

Gardiner Library trustees Leitha Ortiz-Lesh (with daughter Onika) and Marie Zapf with a sign advertising the Gardiner's Bounty library fundraiser to be held Saturday, October 11 at Majestic Park. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Gardiner Library trustees Leitha Ortiz-Lesh (with daughter Onika) and Marie Zapf with a sign advertising the Gardiner’s Bounty library fundraiser to be held Saturday, October 11 at Majestic Park. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

The first time around, it was an elegant Saturday evening cocktail party. Last year, a relaxed 1920s-style Sunday afternoon garden party. This year? A down-home Saturday afternoon pig roast and barbecue hang-out at Majestic Park on Saturday, October 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The theme of the annual “Gardiner’s Bounty” event has morphed easily from one concept to another since its inception three years ago, but what hasn’t changed is the idea of creating community camaraderie while raising funds for the Gardiner Library.

“When you hear the word ‘bounty,’ everybody automatically thinks of and connects that to food, or what you get from the land,” says library board member Leitha Ortiz-Lesh, chair of the committee organizing the third annual Gardiner’s Bounty. “But we have this amazing community in Gardiner, an eclectic combination of people living here. ‘Gardiner’s Bounty’ really is its people.”


Admission costs $20 if purchased at the library by Saturday, October 4 or online by PayPal at Tickets cost $30 on the day of the event. The price of admission includes the pig roast, cooked up by local chef, CIA grad and Gardiner native Paul Casamento. In addition to the 100-pound pig to be roasted, there will be additional pork and chicken donated by Sharon and Drew Sycoff of Gardiner’s Brookside Farm. The meal will include cole slaw, pasta salad, veggies donated by local farmers and a corn muffin or some type of roll, along with a beverage (non-alcoholic; the park prohibits otherwise).

The food will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There will be a vegetarian option, and kids (or adults) who don’t want the entire barbecue extravaganza can purchase a hot dog or hamburger meal with chips and beverage for $4-$5.

The pie and cake auction will begin after the food service ends, with lively auctioneering by Fred Mayo for the donated cakes, cookies, pies and other baked goods. Some of the bidders get very competitive, says Ortiz-Lesh, with some items going for hundreds of dollars to benefit the library. The auction includes some “mystery boxes,” too, with themes to include a box for kids, a box for pets, a “date night” box and a “day in Gardiner” box. The value of each will be established before bidding but not the contents, so it will fall to the highest bidder to find out what assortment of gift certificates from local businesses and goodies will be inside. The finale of the auction is always a special library-themed cake baked by pastry chef Maya Eyler.

New Paltz-based photographer Marlis Momber will offer a digital portrait photo session for $15 with all proceeds donated to the library. If the kids have their Halloween costumes ready, they’re encouraged to come dressed in those (and the library will have some costumes and accessories available), but the sessions are really for everybody, for any reason: adults, individuals, couples or groups are invited to have that holiday photo taken or even a glamour shot. Momber will take several shots and choose the best one, e-mailing it to the subject after the event, when they can then use the digital file to make as many copies of it as they’d like. And according to Ortiz-Lesh, Momber’s talents extend beyond photography to the making of her special salad, which she is going to make and donate to the library event for veggie eaters at the pig roast.

The eclectic character of Gardiner will be expressed in the live music provided by the library’s Madrigal Singers, the Dover Boys barbershop quartet and Gardiner resident and member of the Walkabout Clearwater Chorus, Tim Hunter. Additional entertainment will be offered by members of The Shire of Coill Tuar (The Society of Creative Anachronism), who will come in costume to play medieval games and music and do live action role playing.

And what would a library event be without authors? Local authors writing in a range of genres will be gathered together in their own area, with some of them doing readings. Participants will include children’s author and illustrator Dave Horowitz (not to be confused with conservative nonfiction writer David Horowitz), Bill Harvey, author of Mind Magic: Doorway Into Higher Consciousness, fantasy author C.L. Schneider, author of Crown of Stones, romance and children’s book author Jennifer Probst, children’s book author and illustrator Iza Trapani and Susan Rogers, who wrote Karate is for Girls. She’ll be accompanied by seven-year-old Riley Wells, who wrote her own book about karate posted online and the New Paltz Karate Academy will do demonstrations.

A “kids” flea market will be literally that; kids selling kid stuff, whether it’s items they made or their old toys and clothes. Ortiz-Lesh says the Girl Scouts will be involved in that, too, with a stuffed animal fundraiser sale.

The “Wish List” project will be back, in which people can donate to specific projects at the library otherwise not budgeted for. There will be several options. For example, last year they raised half of what was needed to build a children’s performance stage at the library and this year they’re asking for the other half. It’s important to note that credit cards can’t be used at the park (Gardiner’s lack of cell phone reception is notorious). Should someone wish to make a donation by credit card on that day, however, they can always pledge and then return to the library at a later date to complete the charge.

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