Come on, you know you love it. You even know how to go around the long way through Gardiner to avoid the traffic that backs up from the Ulster County Fairgrounds along Main Street New Paltz all the way to Thruway Exit 18. It comes two weekends a year, bookending the summer tourism season, and has been going on in the same spot (with a stunning view of the Gunks) since 1982. But that doesn’t mean that it ever gets old.
We’re talking about the Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair, of course, back for its Memorial Day manifestation this weekend, May 27 through 29. It’s a fairly high-end, competitive juried show featuring more than 300 artists and artisans from across America purveying a broad range of handcrafted goods to suit every taste. There’s no mass-produced junk of the sort often seen at street fairs of late; but something affordable and essential to take home can be found for every budget, even if it’s only an eight-dollar jar of awesome gourmet mustard or a handcarved wooden spoon.
The Memorial Day weekend show always plays up landscape art, outdoor furniture and other items to enhance your warm-weather enjoyment of your “outdoor rooms,” or to bring as a “hostess gift” to some summer gathering. This year, that selection will include a few mobile tiny houses: a foretaste of the Tiny House Festival coming to the Fairgrounds on July Fourth weekend.
Live crafting demonstrations, a great selection of fair food and topnotch local entertainers are also consistent features of the Crafts Fair. This Saturday, performers will include Chris Wilson at noon, the Ravensbeard Wildlife Show with Ellen Kalish at 1 p.m. and the Myles Mancuso Band at 3 p.m. On Sunday, you can hear All-She-Wrote at 12:30 p.m., the Cupcakes at 2 p.m. and Shep and the Coconuts at 3:30 p.m. On Monday, Chris Wilson returns at noon and Helen Avakian performs at 1:30 p.m.
Fair hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, May 27 and 28, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, May 29, Memorial Day. Entry costs $9 general admission, $8 for seniors; kids aged 12 and under get in free, and you can print out a $1 discount coupon on the website at www.quailhollow.com. That’s where you can also find a full list of the vendors and where on the Fairgrounds map their booth will be located (in case you have little time to spare and want to make a ninja shopping run to a favorite vendor or two – otherwise, plan to make at least half a day of it!).
The Ulster County Fairgrounds are located at 249 Libertyville Road in New Paltz, on the western side of the Wallkill River. Parking is free. For more info, call (845) 679-8087 or (845) 246-3414.