Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning not only of the summer vacation season, but also the onset of an array of outdoor festivals of all kinds. High-end juried craft fairs are always a blast, even if all you end up taking home is a jar of gourmet mustard. And there’s no better place to start your summer shopping that the Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair, returning to mark its 37th anniversary at the Ulster County Fairgrounds.
There are two huge vendor tents and two long rows of outdoor craft booths, plus separate tents for furniture, architectural crafts, specialty foods and healthcare products, crafts supplies and live demonstrations. Demos to be highlighted this weekend include Adirondack furniture techniques, Chinese brush painting, hammock-making, woven placemats and rugs, batik wall hangings, oil and acrylic painting, stained glass, lathe-turned bowls and pens and chip-carved jewelry boxes.
Live music goes on all weekend as well. Saturday will feature Kayla Rae, Deb Cavanaugh and the Artie Tobia Band; Sunday, All-She-Wrote with Larry Packer, magician Jim Snack and Michael Golden and the Outsiders; and Monday, Eric Erickson and Christine & Elliot Spero. Fair food is of unusually high quality, all prepared on-premises. You can buy wines and craft beers dispensed from Barstream, a converted 1966 Airstream trailer. Bringing the kids? There’s a hands-on crafts tent where you can leave them, safely supervised and busy, while you shop.
The Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair opens to the public at 10 a.m. and closes at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, May 26 and 27, and at 4 p.m. on Monday, May 28. Admission to the Fairgrounds costs $9 general, $8 for seniors, $12 for a full three-day weekend pass. Children aged 12 and under get in free, as do veterans with ID on Monday. Parking is free. To see the full listing of vendors and activities, visit www.quailhollow.com (where you can also get a discount coupon by joining the e-mail list). The Ulster County Fairgrounds are located at 249 Libertyville Road in New Paltz. (Pro tip: Approach the site northbound from Gardiner if you want to avoid the traffic that’s often backed up on Route 299 all the way to Thruway Exit 18.)