People whose childhoods happened before the age of the Internet often have fond memories of transforming a big fat Sears or Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogue into a personal wish book, inscribing their initials beside the things they wanted and dog-earing the pertinent pages of the toy section so that Mom, Dad or Santa would have no difficulty finding the critical info. Country Living magazine is kind of like that for grownups who either live in a rural area or desperately wish that they did. If you love antiques or home décor or entertaining or farm-to-table delicacies, you read it and drool.
A couple of times a year, the faithful are summoned together to commune over shared passions for the upscale rural lifestyle at a Country Living Fair. One of those convocations comes to Rhinebeck this weekend. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 3 to 5, rain or shine, “The pages of Country Living magazine come to life” at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds.
The event is primarily a shopping extravaganza. Among the 200+ vendors from 25 states who participate, those featured for 2016 include Beekman 1802 Mercantile, Findings@Summerhouse, JBS Mercantile, Rockerbox Garlic, Selina Vaughan Studios, South Porch Antiques and Stash Style. Buzzwords like “upcycled” pepper their product descriptions, luring the crowds who want to balance fashion-forward conspicuous consumption with a small carbon footprint.
But there are also plenty of seminars and demonstrations and chat sessions with Country Living editors and contributors. Unsurprisingly, since their Beekman 1802 Mercantile product line is being spotlighted, The Fabulous Beekman Boys stars Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell will be doing a cooking demo (candied fennel and fried lemons) on the Kitchen Stage at noon on Saturday. On Friday, DIY Network designer/stylist Joanne Palmisano, author of Salvage Secrets Design and Décor will share some of her secrets for turning sows’ ears into silk purses. Farmhouse Rules author Nancy Fuller will do cooking demos on both Saturday and Sunday. Backyard Style author Matthew Mead will also appear both days, showing how to use paint-sprayers to give your décor a lift.
One-day admission costs $13 in advance and $16 at the door; three-day weekend passes are available for $15 in advance ($40 if you want VIP early entry at 8:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday) and $20 at the door; admission is free for children ages 16 and under. To purchase tickets or find out more, call (866) 500-FAIR (3247) or visit www.countryliving.com/fair/a4255/country-living-fair-rhinebeck. The Dutchess County Fairgrounds are located at 6550 Spring Brook Avenue (Route 9) in Rhinebeck.