25th annual Taste of New Paltz will be held on a Saturday this year

During last year’s Taste of New Paltz, Michael Speranza and Jessica Shaw enjoyed braised pork belly from Mohonk Mountain House.

During last year’s Taste of New Paltz, Michael Speranza and Jessica Shaw enjoyed braised pork belly from Mohonk Mountain House.

It’s never too soon to make a note on your calendar about upcoming events you don’t want to miss. Especially if it’s something one is used to attending on a Sunday and for the first time, it’ll be held on a Saturday this year.

That’s the case with the 25th annual Taste of New Paltz slated for Saturday, September 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Ulster County Fairgrounds on Libertyville Road. Admission costs $7 with advance purchase by September 16 and $10 on the day of the event. Kids age 12 and under are admitted free.

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Primarily showcasing local food and beverages, the event hosted by the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce offers visitors the opportunity to sample “tastes” of what regional restaurateurs, caterers, farm markets, distilleries, breweries and wineries have to offer, from unusual indulgences to pizza and cupcakes. Not only can one savor a variety of flavors over the course of an afternoon at $2 to $3 per taste, but it’s a chance to sample something one might have seen on the menu of a local restaurant before but bypassed in favor of ordering an old favorite; a great way to see if that item is something you’ll want to try the next time you go out to eat at that venue.

So what’s going to be new this year? The Chamber’s executive director, Kathy Prizzia, says that while they don’t plan to veer too far from what they’ve always done, there will be several new things this time around. For one thing, the samples of food and drink will be purchased with cash; no need to buy tickets. Vendors will also take credit card payment (if they’re set up for that). Adults will find a “rare beer experience” for an additional fee to enter an exclusive area and taste rare beer from around the world, including special offerings from breweries like Allagash, Sierra Nevada, Ballast Point, Sixpoint, Stone, Schneider Weisse, Kiuchi, St. Bernardus and others. The “experience” will be offered at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at a cost of $20 in advance and $25 the day of the Taste. A commemorative pint glass is included in the price.

Additional new features include a Wi-Fi hotspot and a selfie station.

An expanded kids’ expo will feature old-fashioned relay races, three-legged races, a water balloon toss and hula-hoop contests. There will be prizes, and volunteers from the SUNY New Paltz athletic teams will be running the games. There will also be face painting and a child ID program.

The Chamber is launching an event-associated website for the first time this year: www.TasteofNewPaltz.com. The website may be up and running by press time, but if not, look for it soon. “It will be very interactive and fun,” says Prizzia. “People will be able to look up the participating restaurants and vendors and see the band and demonstration schedule throughout the day. You can purchase advance tickets on it, and the advertising advantages are huge for participating vendors. We also have #Taste25 set up for anyone who is Tweeting from the event.”

The main stage will have a full lineup of bands, including Soulia and the Sultans and The Pleasers. There will be demonstrations in the Health and Wellness Expo, with local fitness clubs, massage therapists, nutritionists and more represented. SUNY New Paltz will have a booth demonstrating its 3D printing, and the Country Store will return as well along with the popular Business Expo.

Restaurants and farm markets supplying food this year so far — the list will grow by September — include Delicioso Deli & Bistro, Diego’s Taqueria, Brotherly Grub BBQ, Village Pizza, P&G’s Restaurant, McGillicuddy’s Restaurant, Hurds Family Farm, Henry’s Farm To Table Restaurant, Frida’s Bakery, Mohonk Mountain House, Tantillo’s Farm Market, Gadaleto’s Seafood Market, Neko Sushi, Jamaican Choice, Main Street Bistro, Moxie Cup, Tuthill House Restaurant, Whitecliff Winery, Robibero Winery and Cheesecake Heaven.

“The Taste began with a handful of New Paltz restaurants participating,” says Prizzia. “We looked to those vendors to help us celebrate a momentous year. The response was overwhelming and the enthusiasm is growing! From gourmet to comfort food and kid friendly.”

Participating vendors to this point include Sarah Lawton (silver jewelry, beadwork & wooden folk toys), The Bruderhof, Cutco Cutlery, New Paltz Karate Academy, Inc., Bath Fitter, Daylight Photo, Silverleaf Resorts, Thomas Sorrentino of the Vintage Motor Home Club, Senza Glutine by Carmela and First Capital Corvettes.

Sponsors of the 2015 Taste of New Paltz include (so far) Craft Beer Guild Distributing of New York, Naccarato Insurance, Rocking Horse Ranch, Pro Printers, Gilday Creative, JTS Design, SUNY New Paltz, Ulster Publishing and Luminary Publishing.

“The Taste of New Paltz showcases the fantastic restaurants, orchards, farms, wineries, local businesses and a sense of community that make New Paltz a great destination and the place we call home,” says Steve Turk, owner of Rocking Horse Ranch.

To purchase tickets in advance, visit the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce website at www.newpaltzchamber.org, www.TasteofNewPaltz.com or step into the Chamber offices at 257 Main Street. The Taste of New Paltz goes on rain or shine. More information is available at 255-0243.

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