You know those infuriating “Don’t wear this if you’re over Age X” articles that you see posted on social media all the time? Well, one of the things that women in their 60s are definitely not supposed to wear in public places, according to Millennial magazine writers, is a fanny pack (or bumbag, if you’re from the UK, where “fanny” has a more risqué meaning). Go ahead and laugh, but this reporter has been living in her fanny pack for many months now, since my last shoulder bag fell apart. I’d sooner endure the scorn of strangers wherever I go than buy one of those tacky faux-leather objects that pass for purses in department stores these days.
My long vigil will soon be over: The Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair will be back this weekend for its 38th spring visit to the Ulster County Fairgrounds. And there’s no better selection of finely designed, sturdily constructed leather handbags – along with thousands of other items distinctively handmade from high-quality materials – to be found anywhere in our region. Whether you’re looking for clothing or housewares, jewelry or patio furniture, a pottery bowl or a wrought-iron hook or carved wooden salad utensils or a colorful patchwork quilt or a jar of Vidalia onion jam, this is the place to undertake your search and go home more than satisfied. Allow yourself plenty of time, because there are hundreds of juried exhibitors in two gigantic tents, several smaller specialized ones and long rows of open-air booths, all competing to catch your eye.
Time to get off your feet, relax and enjoy some top-shelf fair food in between shopping runs is also advisable. The musical entertainment at this event is always as tastefully curated as the craftwares, and there’s a show geared to kids each day of the fair as well. At noon on Saturday, May 25, master storyteller Jonathan Kruk will regale visitors with theatrical tales of “Pirates on the Hudson,” and Lauren Magarelli and the beBhakti Band will bring their trance music blending vocal harmonies, drum, harmonium and hammered dulcimer at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 26 features Erik Callender’s wild menagerie of rescued live reptiles and amphibians from around the world at noon; and at 1:30, New York City-based roots/blues/soul band Brewster Moonface performs, fronted by Julie Notwicz, whose voice melds the influences of Janis Joplin and Big Mama Thornton. At noon on Monday, May 27, Lolly Hopwood will host a fun interactive adventure for kids blending music, games and imagination; at 1:30 p.m., Franki Dennull of the Beings will perform Beatlesque classic rock and blues.
Admission to the Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair costs $9 per adult, but if you prepurchase online at www.quailhollow.com (where you can also peruse the full list of exhibitors), you can get a three-day pass for $13. Parking is free and ample, affording the bonus of a stunning view of the Shawangunk Ridge. Fair hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Memorial Day.
Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair, Saturday/Sunday, May 25/26. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Monday, May 27, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $9/$13, Ulster County Fairgrounds, 249 Libertyville Rd., New Paltz, www.quailhollow.com