Elting Library Fair returns this weekend

Left to right are library board member June Wheeler, board president Linda Welles, board member Sarah Holstead and library director John Giralico. (Photo by Lauren Thomas)

The 62nd annual Elting Library Fair will be held on Saturday, September 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The book sale continues Sunday, September 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free both days, but avid book hunters and flea market enthusiasts who want first crack at the merchandise on Saturday may pay $10 for early bird admission from 8-9 a.m.

The event transforms the parking lot behind the library, at the corner of North Front and Church streets, into a bustling street fair for the day. Many of the activities are held under tents. 


Along with an amazing assortment of more than 10,000 books for sale, the library fair also offers great finds on vintage jewelry, crafts, toys and games, plants, antiques, flea market items and artwork. There’s plenty of food, too, and live music all day long.

One of the best known features of the event is its raffle, which this year features more than 135 prizes donated by local businesses. Raffle tickets cost $1 each, or $5 for six tickets, $10 for twelve tickets and $20 for 24 tickets, available at the library circulation desk and at the fair. Winners need not be present to win when tickets are drawn.  

Top prizes include a two-day stay for two (midweek) at Mohonk Mountain House; day passes for a family of four at Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland; a $150 gift certificate to Essence MediSpa in Highland; $100 gift certificates to Garvan’s, The Village TeaRoom and Hokkaido; golf packages for four to Mohonk Mountain House and Apple Greens Golf Course in Highland and a 13 by 23 photograph from the Steve Jordan Gallery.

Additional prizes include theater tickets and movie passes, manicures and haircuts and gift certificates to dozens of local eateries, gift shops and clothing stores.

The silent auction offers the chance to bid on an annual membership to Mohonk Preserve, a Druzy pendant from Hudson Valley Goldsmith, two pair of designer sunglasses from New Paltz Eye Care and Scott Morrison Optometry and framed artwork from Camille Fischer.

Children’s activities will include face-painting and the return of the “Kidz on the Go Activity Center,” a primary-colored portable playground with enough tubes, slides and climbing apparatus to keep kids busy for hours. 

In past years, a pumpkin-painting activity has been a tradition at the fair, but according to library board president Linda Welles, the weather this summer resulted in a disaster for pumpkin crops, with local farmers unable to donate as usual. Instead, a craft activity will offer kids a painting experience on small wooden boxes that can be made into “treasure chests.” The fair will also find the return of the popular “lollipop game,” she adds, in which kids select lollipops with hidden stems and if theirs has a color on it, they win a prize. Other games will result in acquiring temporary tattoos. If kids complete two or more activities, they get a sticker entitling them to a free children’s book.

The selection of toys is also a big draw for kids, says Welles, with “a massive collection at ridiculously low prices.” She herself donated two children’s bikes this year. “There will be some gems. And a lot of little things that kids can purchase for a dollar.”

Singer-songwriter Jeff Pfeffer — married to Elting’s children’s librarian Bonnie Pfeffer, who organizes the vintage jewelry sale at the Library Fair — has put together a stellar lineup of entertainment for the day. Jim Bacon will kick things off at 9 a.m. with fingerpicking blues and rag guitar, followed by Berry Jam with Leslie Abdullah, Wind & Stone, the Resisterhood Choir, guitarist Eric Jiminez, Kurt Henry and student musicians from New Paltz Rock.

The flea market will have unique items at bargain prices, and local craftspeople will display their wares. The plant sale by the New Paltz Garden Club is always worth checking out, with beautiful specimens as low as $2 at past fairs. 

The Elting Memorial Library is collaborating with The League of Women Voters all month to encourage New Paltz residents to register to vote before the October 12 deadline, which will enable casting a ballot during this November’s upcoming election cycle. Those who have not yet registered may do so at the Library Fair all day Saturday. Library board president Welles says she is passionate about positioning the library as a resource not only for information, but citizen community involvement, as well.

The fair is a major fundraiser for the library, bringing in a substantial amount each year that pays for programs and items the budget doesn’t allow for. More than 1,000 people attend the community event every year, and it takes hundreds of volunteers to organize. Elting Memorial Library is located at 93 Main Street. For more information, visit www.eltinglibrary.org.