This past weekend, thousands of visitors flocked to the outdoor ‘Walktoberfest Essential Farmer’s Market’ that was hosted by the Friends of the Walkway Over the Hudson and the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association. People could purchase a variety of farm fresh produce, tasty baked goods, Caribbean foods, wines & spirits, gourmet nut specialties, honey, as well as crafts made by artisans selling hand made candles, scarfs, cork handbags, jewelry, colorfully painted gourds and skin care products. A number of not for profits were on hand that have been helping the community by providing meals to families impacted by cancer or other illnesses.
Peter Bellizzi, President of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association, said Walktoberfest is a 50/50 split with the Walkway organization. He called the attendance, “pretty incredible” and “the whole idea was to get people out in a safe environment because since March they’ve been tied up.”
Marissa Bull, President of the not for profit Southern Ulster Performing Arts Company [SUPAC], works to raise money to support the arts in the Mid Hudson region. In the last year they provided $2,000 in scholarships, “for kids that are in need of dance and music classes and master classes who are having trouble because of covid. We are here to help the entire community and for anybody who needs help, we have scholarship opportunities for them,” she said. Bull can be reached at 845-236-7989.
Nela Ferreira and her sister Paula Ribeiro started House of Cork four years ago after seeing beautifully made handbags throughout Portugal and Spain.
“The bark is extracted and the tree can actually regenerate every 7 to 8 years and lives 200 years longer,” she said. “You’re not hurting the tree, you’re actually adding life to the tree.”
Ferreira designs and sews a wide variety of cork bags and fashion accessories, such as wallets and bracelets and uses water-based dyes for coloring.
“They are super soft, they are water resistant and they are extremely light weight, which is great, because as a woman, [typical] bags already start heavy and as long as you can start light before we put our stuff in it, it’s good,” she said.
Ferreira products can be viewed on HouseofCorkny.com and she can be reached at 845-406-7278.
Renae Martin has relocated her business Lilly Rae in the Hamlet to 3730 Rte. 9W in Highland. Besides her skin care products, candles, jams, sauces, teas and gifts, she has added cardoza cookies and a variety of Hudson Valley cold-pressed oil products.
Martin was recently honored in the Hudson Valley Magazine as one of 16 dedicated business women who have made a difference in the valley. She can be reached at 845-414-3600.
Douglas Scharf chose the unusual name of Knots In Your Head Woodworking Studio, for his Hopewell Junction based business. He stocks 125 different exotic woods and 100 kinds of burls that he procures from around the world. He makes sure that he ages and dries the wood properly otherwise it can crack.
Scharf said he was “forced” into retirement because of his exposure to Agent Orange in the Vietnam War during his tour of duty in 1973-74. It left him with certain health issues that still persist today.
Scharf sold cars for a number of years but about four years ago he told his wife that he was going to buy a lathe because he remembered how much fun woodworking class was back in Middle School. After bringing one home, he set it up and asked himself, “now what do I do, I had no idea what to do with it.” He joined a wood working club and apprenticed with a master turner who helped to set him on his own creative path.
Scharf had on display his handiwork, such as bowels, plates, salt & pepper shakers, but smiled, saying, “if it’s round, I can make it.” He said his most unusual request was for a large boar bristle shaving brush with a nine inch handle, with the client insisting that he had big hands.
Alexandra Umana and her partner Nicole Vargas collaborated and brought their business ‘You Go Girl’ to Walktoberfest.
“I do plant decor and plant interior styling and Nicole does all the dried floral arrangement pieces,” she said.
Umana said they met as hairdressers and decided to combine their wedding experience and plant decor designs, “so we married both worlds together to see what we could do for wedding and pop up events. People are still getting married and want to gather to do things so we’re beginning to get into table decor and dinner parties; we joined forces to see what we could do.”
Fatima Deen and Marita Seale brought their Body Shop At Home, a skincare line that was originally founded in 1974 by Anita Roddick in England. Deen and Seale continue Roddick’s ethical consumerism.
“We source all of our ingredients through community trade programs and purchase the ingredients from less wealthy countries and shop directly with their local farmers,” she said. “We get most of our shea butter that goes into our skin products from ladies in Ghana in West Africa. They are totally self-sustained and we do this all over the world,” she said.
David Troncoso specializes in painting and framing his Renaissance style art in his studio in Kingston. His passion for art began when he was quite young but has been drawn to Renaissance art and the technique and discipline involved for the past 15 years. He makes his own the wood panels typically out of poplar and walnut that he paints on. He said the wood panels are white and the thin layers of paint that he uses actually refracts back in such a way that creates a glow and seems translucent.
“The thinness makes it very bright and vibrant,” he said. “There could be upwards of 30 layers on a painting to get that effect but the more you add the darker it becomes.”
Troncoso makes copies of work by masters of the era with the permission of a few museums and creates original works in the old style. He also teaches, does private commissions, portraits and paints for churches and public buildings.
Jami Anson worked tirelessly to put Walktoberfest together, pointing out that this event was the first true partnership between the Rail Trail and the Walkway.
“It’s wonderful; first off you have this whole community driven event that helps out vendors and the community get out in the open air,” she said. “It’s just a fantastic weekend and this is our anniversary of the Walkway, the day that it opened 11 years ago. So every weekend this year is special to us.”
Rail Trail member Eric Norberg also helped to bring this event to fruition, with Anson saying, “It’s just such a happy event. The energy has been so spectacular.”
Both Anson and Norberg plan on continuing Walktoberfest next year, with Norberg adding, “This is a keeper.”