By Mark Reynolds
A two-day celebration, dubbed the Walktoberfest Farmers and Makers Market, brought people out in droves to the Walkway Over the Hudson in the first two days of October. People got to taste a wide variety of products from local farms, distilleries, breweries, wineries and restaurants and see works by artists and craftspeople from across the Mid Hudson Valley. All of the proceeds from the drinking area at the event was split 50/50 between the Walkway Over the Hudson and the Hudson Valley Rail Trail.
Jami Anson, Director of Events and Corporate Relations for the Walkway, said, “we had a wonderful crowd, it was very busy.”
Anson thanked a few key supporters of Walktoberfest: Rycor Electric, Tutthilltown Distillery, Benmarl Winery, Tompkins Community Bank, WMC Health, The Snooki Shop and the Lake Placid University Games.
“There as just so many great sponsors. I think this event is all about the heart of the community. You look around and everybody is so happy,” she said.
Anson said she was able to fit about 200 vendors at the event but had 800 on a waiting list.
“They are all quality farmers and makers, and the big thing about the Walkway is that we support Hudson Valley products,” she said.
Peter Bellizzi, President of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association, said the funds his organization receives goes towards improvements of the caboose, maintenance of the rail trail and added signage. He said this is the fifth celebration that has been held on the Walkway.
“People come from all over, and there is also a connection from Metro North with a bus looping from there,” he said.
Andy Polizzi said his daughter Nicole, known as Snooki of Jersey Shore fame, purchased a truck and turned it into the Snooki Shop.
“We take it to all kinds of events and it’s just great,” he said. “She sponsored the Princesses this year.” Snooki grew up in Marlboro.
Filomena and Michael Fanelli, of the Potted Fig, were selling fig trees at the event.
“We’re repeat visitors to Walktoberfest because we love the crowd that comes out, and we get the chance to interact with the community personally,” she said. “There are so many great places to eat and to shop and there are so many interesting people making all sorts of livings you wouldn’t see otherwise. I think if you haven’t been to this event before, you should absolutely head out for next year because this is one you shouldn’t miss.”
Director Madeline Bartolotti, owner of Madeline’s Dance Center, said she is entering her 32nd year and is surprised that it has grown to its present level. She offers ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary genres, along with the ever popular tumbling classes.
“I didn’t think we’d be doing this much, taking the kids all over and doing stuff local. I just thought it would be a small little thing.”
Madeline has taken her students to perform in Australia, California and Florida and is planning to perform in France, just ahead of the 2024 Olympics.
Laura Orlando was promoting FISU World University Winter Games that are scheduled from January 12-22 in Lake Placid, NY. There will be 86 medal events including 50 countries, 2,500 athletes and coaches from 600 universities engaged in 12 sports, such as ice hockey, cross country skiing, snowboarding and figure skating to name a few.
Owners Susan Horton and Manny Drivas said their business, Nothing Bundt Cakes, will mark their two year anniversary in December. They bake on site 6 days a week, are open 7 days and are located at 2521 Rte. 9 in Poughkeepsie.
Manny smiles, saying that business is good and is spread by ‘word of cake in mouth’ with Susan adding that social media plays an important role.
The Americana Oak Band performed a variety of musical styles for the afternoon, with vocalist Tiffinie Helwig-Sesko, Steve Wenzer on keys, Tommy Cahill on bass, Tony D’Angelo on guitar and Rich Cottet on drums. Their tag line is ‘Tasteful blend of music aged to perfection.’