If you were at the Stormville Airport in the early ’70s, you were there during a time that some local flying enthusiasts remember as its heyday, considered 1968 to 1977 by one such pilot. You were also there at the beginning of what is now a 47-year tradition still going strong: the Stormville Airport Antiques Show & Flea Market, held six weekends a year.
In 1970, Patricia Carnahan, daughter of airport owners Rose and Pete O’Brien, got together about six vendors to put on a flea market at the site. Today’s visitors to the market find the old airstrip inhabited by more than 600 vendors, on average. There’s one section where new flea market merchandise is offered, and another where it’s all about one-of-a-kind vintage and antique treasures. A bouncy house is there for the kids, and lots of food vendors are on hand. Quirky handcrafted wares find their way into the mix, like the brightly colored outdoor animal sculptures made from industrial parts. And the HGTV show Flea Market Flip makes regular visits to the antiques section to film episodes of its design-challenge concept show that pits one team of DIYers against another to create contemporary décor using vintage finds that they buy from vendors. Through it all, Pat Carnahan still runs the show.
Now Patricia’s daughter Sheila Carnahan – who already expanded the family business by organizing “Ultimate Family Yard Sale” events at the old airport – is starting a new event. The inaugural Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival will be held on Saturday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Stormville Airport, located at 428 Route 216 in Stormville (a hamlet in the town of East Fishkill), will be turned over entirely to the festival; don’t expect to buy any antiques or flea market items that day.
The Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival will be held in support of the Hudson Valley Hero Project, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit that, among other things, provides aid to veterans and current military through scholarships, paying overdue bills and offering equine-assisted PTSD therapy.
The event will feature a gathering of at least 15 food trucks offering a diversity of cuisine and food vendors set up in traditional festival booths. Sheila Carnahan was inspired to create the event after enjoying similar festivals in urban areas. “I’d been to craft beer shows and visited food truck festivals, and I wanted to bring something like that here,” she says. “I couldn’t decide which one I loved more, so I decided to combine them.”
The Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival includes a kids’ zone with an art-and-craft area, face-painting, bouncy houses and balloon animals. Two performers will provide live music – Rachael Hendricks and Ryan Clark – and adventurous types can sign up for ten-minute scenic helicopter rides with independent pilots. Rounding things out will be an artisan market with vendors offering handcrafted items. Admission for kids age 12 and under is free, with everyone else paying $5 admission per person to have access to the food trucks and all the activities.
The craft beer and cider ticket is purchased separately, with that part of the event running from 1 to 5 p.m. for those aged 21 and older. The cost is $40, which includes a souvenir glass and samples from more than 40 regional and national craft beer and cider breweries that include Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Awestruck Premium Hard Cider, Bull & Barrel Brewery, Cricket Hill Brewery, Golden Road Brewery, Goose Island Beer Company, Brooklyn Brewery, New Belgium Brewing, Keegan Ales, Captain Lawrence Brewing, Ithaca Beer Company, Coney Island Brewing Company, the Traveler Beer Company, Hudson Ale Works, Rip Van Winkle Brewing Company, Samuel Adams, Adirondack Brewery, Chatham Brewing, Two Roads Brewing Company, Butternuts Beer & Ale, Mill House Brewing Company, Pine Island Brewing, the Roscoe NY Beer Company, Saranac Brewery, Paradox Brewery and Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Tickets for the Craft Beer Festival may be purchased in advance from Eventbrite.com.
Food Trucks represented will include Ei’s Fries & the Flying Food Truck (specializing in Philly cheesesteak fries), Meatoss Street Grill (beef empanadas), the 413 Grill (gourmet burgers), Chompers (fried meat and cheese balls), Live, Laugh & Pie (pizza), Poutine Gourmet (authentic Canadian poutine), Hudson Valley Gyro & Market (spanakopita), Handsome Devil BBQ (award-winning ribs) and Pappi’s Mediterranean (Moroccan lamb koftas). Sweet treats will be available from food trucks that include Forget Me Not Cupcakes (caramel macchiato a specialty), Ma & Pa’s Refreshments (Italian ices) and Country Kids Kettle Corn and Castle Amusements (bubblegum-flavored cotton candy). Visitors can vote for their favorite truck to receive the People’s Choice Award, with the winner receiving a trophy.
The next Stormville Airport Antique Show & Flea Market will be held (rain or shine) this summer, on Saturday and Sunday, July 1 and 2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional dates this year are September 2/3, October 7/8 and the final show for the year held November 4/5. Admission and parking are free.
The next “Ultimate Family Yard Sale” will take place at the Stormville Airport on Saturday, June 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with another event on Saturday, September 16. The idea is that families can get together to hold one big yard sale in one place, rather than wait for individual buyers to find them at home. Those who wish to sell their goods pay a nominal fee for the opportunity to display their wares in a 20-by-20-foot space. Admission and parking are free.
Pets are not allowed at any of the Stormville Airport events.
The airfield that was known as N69 to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was once a hub of aeronautic activities. Pete O’Brien bought the property in the late ‘20s, with the FAA listing it in its directory as being activated as an airport in October 1944. Pete married Rose in 1945, and throughout the 40 years that followed, they owned and operated the Stormville Flight School, where Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) learned to fly during World War II. Other pilots found it the closest airport to New York City where flying was not restricted during the war for security reasons. Many pilots who went on to fly for major airlines honed their skills at the Stormville Airport.
Cole Palen, founder of the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, was a close friend of the O’Briens and flew there often. He made a first flight of his restored 1909 Bleriot monoplane there, and used to fly a Fleet biplane there in the ‘50s.
Pete lived to be 102 years old, passing away in 2012. In his obituary, the family noted that there were many who remembered the days when they would come to Stormville Airport with folding chairs and spend the day watching the planes take off and land, having lunch at the snack bar and reminiscing with Rose and Pete on the front porch.
Pete’s last plane restoration was a 1926 Kinner Bird that he christened Spirit of Stormville. There hasn’t been any true airport activity at Stormville since the mid-‘80s, and it closed up shop as an airfield entirely in 1995.
Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival, Saturday, June 10, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., $5, craft beer ticket $40, Stormville Airport, 428 Route 216, Stormville; (845) 226-1660, http://stormvilleairportfleamarket.com.