The 14th annual Heart of the Hudson Valley Bounty Festival took place on Saturday at the Cluett Schantz Park under a perfect sunny autumn afternoon. It was hosted by the agritourism organization Meet Me in Marlborough.
Planner Sheila Mannese said the festival highlights Marlborough’s agriculture, businesses, causes and attractions by having a farmer’s market with local produce from Hepworth Farms, Locust Grove, Quimby Farm, Windwood Farm along with breweries, cheeses and breads, crafts and handmade items, a slide and a bouncy house and Tony’s Magic Show for the kids. A variety of local businesses were on hand, such as Katie Rose Bakery and McKeel’s Music along with a live musical performance by vocalist Angela Bruno and a presentation by students at Madeleine’s Dance Center. The American Legion also held a breakfast as a fundraiser. Mannese gave a special thank you to Sawyer Savings and Dawes Septic and Repair for helping to sponsor the festival.
Mannese said, “Seeing smiles on the kids, the sun out and the leaves falling, it’s a perfect, perfect day.”
Joanne and Colin Murphy, of East Coast Outfitters, provided canoe and kayak rentals for people to go out onto the pond. They also bring their canoes and kayaks to various locations in the mid Hudson region, with Ulster Landing, Esopus Island and the Milton Landing as favorite places that people enjoy.
“We take them out if they are not experienced and it takes about an hour to teach them the guidelines to go out on the water,” Joanne said.
Joanne said her husband is a Veteran of the Gulf War and he takes fellow Veterans out for free, “when they may be having a bad day or need a time out. They call us and we don’t hesitate to load up and take them out on the water.”
If needed they also provide safety bars across two canoes that helps prevent their tipping over in the water. There is also a catamaran available for those new to this activity, “so they can enjoy it and feel comfortable.”
Debra Porco was signing her book, “Lucy to the Rescue,” with illustrations by Juan Diaz. She and her late husband Joseph started a non profit organization three years ago, “to help people financially who can’t afford emergency veterinary care and this book is about how we started the non-profit.” Porco brought along their 1954 Chevy pickup truck that they purchased from actor Richard Gere.
Southern Ulster Rotarian Paul Daniels brought a Shelter Box tent to the festival. They are brought to areas devastated by natural disasters, most recently in Haiti. The emergency shelter kits cost $1,000 and typically contain a large tent shelter, blankets and ground sheets, solar lights, cooking utensils, water purification equipment, a tool kit, mosquito nets and children’s activity packs.
The Shelter Box program started in 2001 after a huge tsunami killed about 5,000 people in India. A Rotarian in England, who was involved in logistics, worked to help the people affected.
Daniels said the Englishman and a partner, “started Shelter Box to buy these kits and have them pre-placed around the world.” The company Vango manufactures the kits. Daniels said assessments are done first to determine what the needs are of the people hard hit in disaster areas and the kits may be modified slightly depending on the need and the environment where they are going to be shipped. He added that sometimes they supply tarps and construction equipment that will be used to clear areas for the tents.
Rotary President William Farrell said his chapter buys two of the kit each year to help the program. He said everything comes in green transport boxes that are flown into disaster areas and distributed to those in need.
“The minute they get to where they’ve got to be they get set up,” he said. “Once you have this you can survive.”
Karen Brooks, owner of Aurora Knight Accessories, brought her sterling silver jewelry creations to the festival. She was assisted by her husband Mike Brooks.
Brooks started her company 4 years ago, saying she always wanted to be a jeweler despite her mother telling her that women don’t become jewelers.
“Some of them are my designs and some are others. The silver is Italian silver; I’m very fussy about using Italian silver. But I do have other stuff that is from Thailand.”
Brooks said she is a vendor at these kind of events and will soon have offerings on line and will be producing real diamond rings and jewelry and real gemstones.
Brooks said her jewelry work provides her a creative outlet from her day job as a data analyst, “and this is my release.”
Gerry Greco is the Executive Assistant & Labor Relations Manager for Hepworth Farms, a 550 acre organic vegetable farm in the mid Hudson region.
Greco has participated in the Bounty Festivals since the beginning.
“They’re great and we love them,” she said. “It’s just a lot of kids and people having fun.”
Greco brought heirloom tomatoes, squash, peppers, leafy greens, eggplants, zucchini, root vegetables and cabbages for sale.
Every Saturday Greco also brings produce to the Farmers Market in Milton, which may run for a few more weeks before closing down for the season.
“It’s really up to the weather right now, but I think this week looks good for the next two weeks. That’s my prediction,” she said.