Celebrating Shandaken at Big Indian Park

phoenicia-eagle-SQThe First Annual Human Foosball Tournament will be a feature of this year’s Shandaken Day, the celebration that will also serve as the town’s signature event for the recently awarded Scenic Byway designation. On Saturday, August 27, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., come to Big Indian Park on Route 28, and enjoy games, food, contests, vendors, live music, and much more.

This year marks the thirteenth edition of Shandaken Day, established on the bicentennial anniversary of the founding of the township. Each year, several of the town’s twelve hamlets are highlighted. This year’s emphasis is on the history of Phoenicia, Chichester, and Woodland Valley.

The hamlet of Phoenicia has been designated one of the “Top Ten Coolest Small Towns in America” by Budget Travel Magazine. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Phoenicia Eagle, now a Route 28 landmark. The Eagle originally stood outside Grand Central Station in New York City.


The hamlet of Chichester, a short drive up Route 214, was founded in 1863 by brothers Frank and Lemuel Chichester, who built a furniture factory and housing for their workers. After the factory failed during the Great Depression, the building and all the worker’s homes and stores were sold off at auction in 1939. Many of those homes form the heart of the now quiet residential community of Chichester.

Woodland Valley was known for its recreational offerings and camps, whose structures are still visible today. At the peak of the Valley is the trailhead for Wittenburg-Cornell-Slide, a hike that ends at Slide Mountain, the tallest peak in the Catskill Mountains and subject of an essay by naturalist John Burroughs, who climbed it in the late 1800s. At the foot of the valley, one can see the former Simpson Ski Slope, which ushered in visitors from New York City on a weekly ski train. Woodland Valley today remains a getaway from the hustle and bustle of hamlet life.

Shandaken Day’s new foosball event will include teams representing local non-profits, playing on a life-sized version of the table top game. The six-person teams will battle it out in 15-minute matches starting at noon and ending with the championship round at about 4:15 p.m. Organizers have received sponsorship funding from Community Bank, Key Bank, and Ulster Savings Bank, with cash prizes going to the four top teams.

As usual, games for kids will include the Spoon & Egg Race, Water Balloon Toss, and Inner Tube Relay. Adventurous folk will compete in the ever-popular Watermelon Eating Contest. Throughout the day, there will be giveaways announced, and Wyld Blu will provide live music. Food for sale will include burgers, hot dogs, steak sandwiches, fried dough, ice cream. As always, the event closes with a recognition of several of the town’s notable citizens, honored for their efforts to improve the quality of life in the community over the previous decades. Phoenicians Mike Ricciardella and Cal Smith will receive Hamlet Hero Awards, and Teresa Grant of Shandaken will receive the Pride of Shandaken Award.


Shandaken Day will be held Saturday, August 27, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at Big Indian Park, nine miles west of Phoenicia on Route 28. Admission is free.