Woodstock Library Fair turns 88

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

In a nod to the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, The 88th Annual Woodstock Library Fair goes Back to the Garden July 27. The fair is organized by Friends of the Library and is a way to raise money for library programs. More importantly, though, it’s a daylong summer party with live music, great food, and fund and games for all ages. 

Friends President Michael Hunt and the dedicated crew of volunteers always try to add new and exciting features every year, but they also know the value of tradition. “We play around all year on whether we’re going to change things. Some things work the way they are,” Hunt said while chatting one recent afternoon on the library lawn about Saturday’s events.

Things kick off at 9:45 a.m. at the Upper Comeau parking lot with a children’s parade to the library lawn followed by a maypole dance, then the fair officially opens at 10 a.m. with children’s favorite Ratboy Jr. as the opening musical act.


Once again this year, the fair partners with the Secret City Art Revival, featuring interactive art exhibits by Hunt along Library Lane, which will be closed to traffic and become a midway. Dakota Lane will facilitate a communal garden mural at the former laundromat parcel across the street.

And when you stroll down Library Lane, don’t forget to swing by the book barn to check out the Friends of the Library’s biggest book sale of the year.

If you just can’t wait until July 27, new this year are a couple preview events.

A silent disco will entertain participants and spectators alike and you can get a peek of it on Friday, July 26 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. “Imagine a tent with a DJ doing a live set, but with 30 people with LED-lit, two-channel headphones, dancing to the same music set,” Hunt said. It will be a show for the spectators who can’t hear the music, but will see everyone dancing to the same music.

At the same time, people can preview a massive clothing sale. A majority of clothing will be sold the day of the fair, but select clothing will be sold Friday from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. “Most of the stuff is going to be covered. You’ve got to come back Library Fair day to really do the shopping but we’re going to have a table or two of select clothes that you can purchase that day, so we’re going to try to reduce our inventory,” Hunt said.

Thanks to generous clothing donations, the Friends have already made money for the library before the fair. “We had all these evening gowns donated with the tags on them, and wedding dresses. We had a pop-up sale here in May to try to hit prom season,” Hunt said. More gowns will be for sale on the day of the fair and some will be donated to performers at the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice.

And don’t forget the Great Expectations Raffle, a fair staple for decades. Top prizes are a Mohonk Mountain House package, a night at Onteora Mountain House with dinner at Cucina and Midnight Ramble tickets at Levon Helm Studios. “It’s the generosity of the partnership. I feel the kinship of all the commerce around us. It’s really a community. They do it every year and they have again,” Hunt said of all the businesses that have donated prizes. In addition to the top items, there are 40-50 other prizes.

Fun for kids

Back by popular demand are the bounce castle and slide along with face painting, hoola hoops and an assortment of games. Children who participated in a workshop making crankie rolls, or moving pictures on a scroll in a box, will showcase their creations at the silent disco tent. 

And the honorees are…

Each year, the Library Fair honors musicians, artists and volunteers who have contributed to the community. This year at 11:45 a.m., Jacqueline Van Kleeck, Janet Peterson and Ralph Goneau receive that honor. Van Kleeck and Peterson have been members of the Woodstock Fire Co. 1 Ladies Auxiliary for nearly 50 years.

“It’s just our nod to all these people, men and women, over the years, that have kept us all safe.”

Ralph Goneau, who was on the library board when it became a library district, has served on many volunteer boards and owned Woodstock Hardware before selling it to Vince Christofora. Calling Goneau an obvious choice, Hunt said he has been very generous to the library through time and donations.

“It’s not just writing a check for him. He’s always partnering up. He’s full of ideas. That’s what I love about him,” Hunt said. 

This is the perfect year for Goneau to be honored. It’s the 88th annual fair and Goneau turns 88 soon.

White Elephant needs volunteers to bring it back

Hunt acknowledged some might be upset the White Elephant rummage sale is on hiatus, but it may return if people offer to help. “This is my big disappointment and this is a struggle that all all nonprofits around here have, which is not enough volunteers,” Hunt said. “Quite frankly we had so much stuff last year that didn’t sell, we spent our whole day on Sunday packing up.”

The Library Fair is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the front lawn and along Library Lane. Admission is a suggested $2 donation.

Music schedule

The music starts at 10 a.m. Here’s the lineup…

10 a.m. Ratboy Jr.; 11 a.m. Journey Blue Heaven; 12 p.m. Rock Academy Show Band; 1 p.m. Singer-songwriter Sarah Fimm; 2 p.m. Chamber pop piano-violin duo Gracie & Rachel; 3 p.m. Modern Appalachian music with Rixey Browning and WDST’s MK Burnell; 4 p.m. Singer-songwriter Doug Yoel.

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