Smorgasburg Upstate returns to Kingston

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

The sophomore season of Smorgasburg Upstate opens at the Hutton Brickyards this Saturday, May 20. Instead of last year’s every-weekend plan, this year Smorgasburg’s shifting to a single weekend each month, with at least one special event thrown in for good measure. The Brooklyn-based food and flea market hopes to build on its successes from last year and give attendees not only a reason to come, but also to stick around.

“We are very excited for the new season at the Hutton Brickyards,” said Smorgasburg’s Jonathan Butler last week. “There’s been a lot of work going on, and when visitors show up…I think they’ll be really impressed. In addition to the improvements to the grounds and buildings that [Hutton Brickyards owners] MWest Holdings has been making, we have also shifted around the layout within the market to create more seating and space for hanging out and enjoying the views while eating and enjoying some locally crafted beer and cider. We’re also adding more entertainment, and are hoping it’ll feel a lot more like a place to spend the afternoon than just a place to walk through and shop.”

Butler co-founded the food-based Smorgasburg with Eric Demby in May 2011 as an offshoot of Brooklyn Flea, a market that the pair opened in a Fort Greene school playground in 2008. Though Smorgasburg Upstate retained the name of the food-friendly market, it’s roughly split down the middle, appealing to foodies, flea-market fans and everyone in between. The 2016 season was abridged on both ends; initially planned to open on June 4 of last year, the market was delayed in part by engineering concerns about the Hutton Brickyards property. It finally opened on August 6, 2016 to big crowds, but there were fewer flea fans on subsequent Saturdays. Initially conceived as running through the end of last October, the market’s inaugural season ended on October 15.

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This year’s iteration will shift its focus from every Saturday to six Saturdays and Sundays, once per month, between its May 20/21 opening and its final session on October 21/22. Smorgasburg Upstate’s remaining regular schedule is June 17/18, July 15/16, August 19/20 and September 16/17. Hours during the regular schedule run from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

If the new layout, including rows of Adirondack chairs facing the river, is designed to inspire visitors to hang out and enjoy the atmosphere, the combination of food and flea vendors is geared toward making the experience satisfying in other ways. “We’ve got a similar number of vendors as last year – some returning, some new,” said Butler.

As in the past, both food and flea vendors are largely comprised of Hudson Valley fare, with a handful of borough-based options popular with Brooklyn crowds. Kingston food vendors for opening weekend include Jane’s Ice Cream, Redwood Restaurant, Kovo Rotisserie, Séraphine Bakery, Hookline Fish Company, Bread Alone and Southern comfort-food specialists Pakt. Other Hudson Valley choices will come from Grille Wagon (Pleasant Valley), Borland House (Montgomery), Raven and Boar (East Chatham), Itsa Pizza Truck (High Falls) and Terrapin Restaurant (Rhinebeck). Brooklyn-based Café Warshafsky – which isn’t a café at all, but rather an exotic shortbread bakery – and Ramen Burger, popularized at Smorgasburg with pop-up roots in Long Island City, will also be there this weekend.

On the flea side of Smorgasburg Upstate, Mezzanine Vintage, Mystik Memory Wood Design and Bohemian Farmgirl are among the Kingston vendors. Sellers from further afield include Paradise Lake Vintage (Woodstock), Cheyenne Mallo Pottery (Rosendale), Vaux Vintage (Red Hook), North Country Classics (Saratoga Springs), So Mid-Century (Bloomingburg) and New Paltz-based Grow from Nature New York, which crafts eco-friendly accessories from cork.

Opening day at Smorgasburg Upstate will feature music performed by members of the Paul Green Rock Academy. Smorgasburg Upstate will also be open for concertgoers heading out to Hutton Brickyards for a pair of shows by Bob Dylan and his band on Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24.

“We are obviously very excited about the Bob Dylan shows, where Smorgasburg will be running the concessions, as we have at SummerStage in Central Park for the past seven years,” said Butler. “All of us who have been working so hard on the adaptive reuse of this historic site will be putting in a special request for the Nobel Laureate to bust out a version of ‘When I Paint My Masterpiece.’ The Hutton Brickyards is a real treasure and labor of love that [MWest President] Karl Slovin and I hope we are turning into a masterpiece for the Hudson Valley to enjoy for years to come.”

Smorgasburg Upstate takes place at the Hutton Brickyards at 200 North Street in Kingston. For more information on Smorgasburg Upstate, including how to apply to be a vendor in the future, visit https://upstate.smorgasburg.com.

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