The watermelon-eating contest and the children’s spoon-and-egg race are among the popular activities to look forward to on Shandaken Day, when the town holds its twelfth annual celebration of rural community on Saturday, August 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at Big Indian Park on Route 28, just west of the turnoff to Oliverea Road.
For the first ten years, Shandaken Day was held in a rotating series of hamlets, but as of last year, it was decided to stick to Big Indian Park. “Originally, bouncing around was to show that each community could host an event, and we showed that they could be successful,” said Shandaken supervisor Rob Stanley, who has traditionally had a hand in organizing the event, this year with the help of Tina Rice, town clerk Joyce Grant, and other town staff. “Glenbrook Park is about a mile from the highway, the Parish Field is adjacent to Phoenicia’s business district, and Pine Hill is starting its own series of events. Big Indian Park is right on Route 28. There’s available parking, it draws vendors, and they seem to do well there.”
Representatives from several Native American nations will open the festivities with drumming and song. They are also among the vendors selling crafts and other products. Various vendors offer food, such as steak sandwiches and barbecued chicken, prepared by Shandaken-Allaben Hose Company, and dishes by Peekamoose Restaurant. Live music will be supplied by a local rock band, Wyld Blu.
An array of kids’ games start at 1 p.m., open to all children, complete with prizes. Giveaways throughout the day include t-shirts and gift certificates for local lodging, awarded to those who can answer trivia questions through research at the town’s information kiosk. Attendees are welcome to try out the park’s brand-new horseshoe pits. The Shandaken Cup is a tug-of-war pitting the emergency personnel against the fire companies, in a spirited competition that has fallen through twice. Last year, the firefighters had to attend a countywide event, and the year before, multiple calls for aid came in just as the tug was beginning. In a classic small-town moment, the staff dropped the rope and raced to their posts.
Another highlight is the presentation of awards honoring local residents for their years, or in some cases, decades of service to the town through not-for-profit groups, town organizations, or emergency services. This year’s Pride of Shandaken award will go to Oliverea resident Georganna Millman and, posthumously, her husband, Marty Millman. Hamlet Heroes will be Barbara and Robert Jones and Peg and Bill Vitarius, all of Shandaken.
Shandaken Day will be held Saturday, August 29, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at Big Indian Park, 7209 Route 28, Shandaken. Games for children begin at 1 p.m.