Iconic festival crowds Sugar LoafOct 15th, 2014 | By Administrator | Category: Sugar Loaf, Sugar Loaf BLOG
80 vendors fill artisan community
By Gittel Evanglist
Posted Oct. 13, 2014 @ 8:15 am
SUGAR LOAF — Multiply 80 vendors times 15,000 visitors times 43 years, and you get an equation for an iconic Hudson Valley tradition: the Sugar Loaf Fall Festival, held annually during the three-day Columbus Day holiday weekend.
More than just a sales opportunity for the hamlet’s dozens of year-round, artisan business owners, the event is a fall festival in the truest sense of the word, said Kiki Rosner, president of the Sugar Loaf Chamber of Commerce. “It’s about the music, the food, the crafts,” Rosner said. “It’s truly a celebration of autumn. By now, it is really a destination in the Hudson Valley each fall.”
Though one might find a few odd items made in China, such as novelty hats or balloons, the vast majority of goods sold at the festival are handmade and homespun. Rosner, who’s owned Rosner Soap along with her husband for the last 16 years, uses traditional French techniques in making the shop’s line of body care products.
Dorian DeHaan was showcasing home accessories made by nearly 20 artisans from a dozen countries in a charity auction for her Artisan Discovery Foundation. The auction raises money for education, nutrition, shelter and clothing for women and children in countries ranging from Peru to Uzbekistan, said DeHaan, an interior designer who lives in Sugar Loaf.
Some of the hamlet’s business owners, such as women’s clothier Beth DuCharme Duke of My Sister’s Closet and world-renowned landscape photographer Nick Zungoli of Exposures Gallery, have been staples of the festival from the beginning. Both have served as chamber presidents in the past.
Others, such as Rachel Bertoni – who designs custom and handcrafted jewelry – are more recent in their service. Bertoni is the festival’s music coordinator, lining up six bands each day for three days, for a total of 18 musical acts.
Bertoni Gallery has greeted visitors to the hamlet at the top of Kings Highway for 14 years. “This is my corner of paradise,” said Bertoni, who moved to Sugar Loaf from Manhattan. “I came up for the Fall Festival in 1999 and bought my home here the next day.”
Though the festival has become a destination for visitors from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rockland County and upstate New York, Rosner said, it remains equally popular with locals.
“We’ve been coming for many, many years,” said Karin Meyer-Bauer of Middletown, who was browsing Sunday along with several family members at the booth of Kathy Jeffers, a potter and sculptor from Woodbourne. “We come to get some fall fresh air and people-watch. We just want to get out and enjoy the weather.”
The Fall Festival continues Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Kings Highway in Sugar Loaf.
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