WinterFest in Highland

(Left to right): Johannes Reichart, Claudia Reichart and Gerrit Koch. (Photos by Lauren Thomas)

WinterFest returned to the Hudson Valley Rail Trail last Saturday with 19 regional restaurants and businesses bringing their best batches of chili to compete for the “Best of Fest” People’s Choice Award. Sal’s Place, pot #7, took First Place in the chili contest, On A Roll Deli took Second Place for the contents of Pot #8 and Thyme & Place Catering and the Gateway Diner tied for Third Place for Pot #3 and pot #14 respectively.

This annual event was co-sponsored by the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association and Highland Rotary Club and proceeds benefit the Hudson Valley Rail Trail.


Christine Sorbello and Marie Sidgwick serve chili

This was the 23rd outing for WinterFest, first conceived by locals Jerry and Geri Luke, then-owners of a bed-and-breakfast who wanted to help support maintenance of the rail trail. With the event now firmly established in the Highland community, the permanent home for WinterFest is the Highland Rotary Pavilion adjacent to the circa-1915 train caboose on the rail trail at 101 New Paltz Road in Highland.

The family friendly event also offered attendees tractor-pulled wagon rides, roasted chestnuts and toasted marshmallows, light snacks and refreshments, woodcarving demonstrations and activities for children.

Highlanders Lyn Bauer and Charles Glasnerwere

Ken and Pat Wendler of Gardiner say they never miss the festival