Kids love animals, and they turned out in force at the Saugerties Farmers’ Market “Farm Animals Day” on Saturday, August 31. Farmers brought their horses, sure, but many small, cuddly animals were also present — kittens and baby rabbits were especially popular.
The first sight of the market, right at the entrance, was beekeeper Charlie Staby. He was more than willing to share his knowledge as well as selling his honey.
Bee die offs are as much the result of disease, especially mites, as they are of pesticides on nearby farms, Staby said. “Farmers are being much more careful about how they use pesticides; they’re conscious of the connection between the chemicals and bee population declines,” he said. In addition to producing honey, bees are the primary means of pollinating plants, necessary to bring the next generation of plants to fruition.
The center of the main section of the market was occupied by farm tractors — small, many antique models, available for kids to ride on, and for many to pretend they are driving. Another section of the market was devoted to small animals — rabbits, cats, ferrets and others. Most of the animals were young, born this past spring, and very docile, allowing children to cuddle them.
Hope Farm provided many of the animals, both small and cuddly and larger, including a pony, a llama and a pig, as well as smaller animals.
Pony rides on the green behind the market offered more active participation in the life of the market. Market entertainment was provided by blues/folk guitar duo Dave Kearney and Elly Wininger. And what would the market be for kids if they couldn’t have their faces painted? Face painter Shanti Payne was on hand to oblige.
The animals and the perfect weather — clear and cool — brought out large crowds for the event.