A key part of getting to know a place is finding its rhythm and its peculiarities. In any of the Catskills hamlets, you are likely to find at least one summertime parade. Often local folks will bring out their prize tractors, their vintage cars, their 4H livestock. You’ll be able to get a bite to eat and probably listen to some good music. I love a parade, but I don’t need it to go on and on all day. What’s great about Catskill parades is that you can usually see the beginning and the end at the same time.
When you fall in love with a little hamlet up here, find out when their parade is. Trust me, they have one. In Andes, my neighbor rides down Main Street on his tractor during the annual Community Day celebration. In Livingston Manor, the annual Trout Parade is a little more left of center, and features a giant trout held by several community members as it wriggles down Main Street. Theatrical groups, high school bands and baton twirlers round out the festivities, flanked by cold brews and hot food. It’s something you don’t want to miss. In some of the smaller towns like Lumberland, the Fourth of July Parade and the Christmas Parade that ushers Santa in to see who’s been naughty or nice, are important community-building events for catching up with neighbors.
At Christmastime in Catskill, the Parade of Lights takes place in late November as illuminated floats make their way down Main Street followed by a tree lighting and visit from Santa. Sounds sparkly!
Festivals abound too, often put on by arts organizations and passionate folks who want to highlight local lore, history and the surrounding natural beauty. One emphatic example is Narrowsburg, deeply inspired by its home alongside the Delaware River, which sports the River Festival each July and follows that with the Honeybee Festival (yes, you can dress up as a bee for this!) and the Big Eddy Film Festival each September.
At the Arnold House in Livingston Manor, I keep two festivals on my calendar every year — The Ramp Festival in the spring and the Ice Fishing Festival in the winter. I don’t always make it, but these festivals mark important times on the seasonal calendar. When the ramps come, you know spring has sprung. And, well, ice fishing is just cool.
Other festivals are more specific. The Hudson Valley Garlic Festival in Saugerties in late September is one that pays homage to all things garlic. Vampires beware! The Cauliflower Festival, perhaps less pungent, can be found in Margaretville in late September too, and it coincides with the hamlet’s tractor parade. A two-for!
Give one of these iconic parades or festivals a try or hunker down in your favorite town or hamlet and ask the locals what flavor their celebration is and when it happens. You’re not getting the full picture unless you give yourself this inside scoop!
XOXO Farm Girl
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