Come Woodstock, Citizens of the World, to the 86th Annual Library Fair Saturday for a day of music, food fun and more. For what is dubbed as the town’s oldest and largest celebration, organizers came up with the theme “Woodstock: Citizens of the World” in response to the negativity and political climate of late. “Without declaring ourselves a sanctuary city, without citing the occupant of the White House in the upside-down, not-normal world we’re in, we wanted to acknowledge this is the first little country fair we put on since the regime change and how that has affected all of us, especially in this little hometown,” said Michael Hunt, of the Friends of the Library, who co-chairs the fair planning along with Michael Perkins.
“The fair is an answer to the fear mongering and negativity of our times, offering an idealistic demonstration of Woodstock artists and citizens of a shrinking planet,” said Perkins. “Art unites the world. Artists anywhere are not free to travel. How can they be goodwill ambassadors?”
To veteran fairgoers, much will remain the same, with some surprises and “wow” factors added.
“It’s the same infrastructure. The stage is going to be in the same place, the bouncy house, the food, everything is the way locals know it,” said Hunt. “How do we add little extras to make it distinctly the 86th? So with this theme of ours, we’ve going to have artwork, signage that’s going to hopefully be evocative of that and provocative and a little mind-blowing.”
New this year is a commemorative passport issued to the first 1500 fairgoers that includes some inspirational words “that you can take home and remember the time you had here,” said Hunt. The passport has a page to get stamped as one visits each area of the fair. But it doesn’t stop there.
“Then we thought, we’re in this little area of Woodstock, this little neighborhood, so we invited all our neighbors to be part of our passport too.”
Woodstock Hardware, Overlook Mountain Bikes, The Station Bar & Curio, Gilded Carriage and Nancy’s of Woodstock Artisinal Creamery are some other places to get your passport stamped.
Returning after a successful debut is the wristband for all attractions. For $12, children get face painting, hat making, fantasy costume creation, unlimited bouncing in the bouncy house and rides on the water slide and, for those 10 and up, a virtual reality experience.
The Board of Trustees will have an information table with details about the Master Plan and expansion possibilities and will seek input from fairgoers.
Roots as a fundraiser
For around 50 years of the fair’s history, it was the library’s main income source.
“Eighty percent of the operating budget for the year was from the fair. They were praying for sunshine because that’s how they ran this joint before they become a public library district,” Hunt said. “We are very conscious that we want to fundraise here, but we also have to put on this party for the town that everyone’s come to expect.”
One of the best parts of the fair is the raffle. Returning this year is the Great Expectations raffle. The Museum of Natural History has provided a Night at the Museum as the grand prize again. The winner will get four tickets to a sleepover at the museum including free parking and a $50 food voucher.
Credit cards accepted
This year, the vintage clothing tent and other areas will accept credit and debit cards for the first time.
And the honorees are…
Many years ago, the Friends of the Library started honoring area residents who have contributed to the community and the library. This year’s honorees are poet, actor, carpenter and ski jump champion Dean Schambach at noon; Woodstock Jewish Congregation Rabbi Jonathan Kligler at 1 p.m. and acclaimed author Gail Godwin at 2 p.m.
Of course the fair wouldn’t be complete without a full lineup of music coordinated by Martin Mills from the White Dove Rockotel.
Festivities begin at 9:45 a.m. with a children’s parade down Comeau Drive followed by a maypole dance at 10 a.m. to open the fair. Those who want to participate in the parade should meet at the upper Comeau lot at 9:30 a.m.
Then the music schedule is as follows, though some times are subject to change.
WDST’s MK Burnell, 11 a.m.; David Kraii, noon following the honoree ceremony; Dharma Bums, 1 p.m. following honoree ceremony; Mister Roper, 2 p.m. following honoree ceremony; Orr Colette Shamir Trio, 3 p.m.; Bearquilt, 4 p.m.
As always, admission is a suggested $2 donation. All proceeds go to funding the library.