Fall festival leaving Belleayre; will be hosted at Arkville's D&U
By Jay Braman Jr.
Following an announcement last week that the annual Belleayre Mountain Ski Center Fall Festival was being cancelled, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) quickly followed up with another announcement, saying that the popular event would instead be moved to Arkville.
The 29th annual Belleayre Fall Festival will be held Columbus Day weekend, but at a new location thanks to a partnership announced last week by the DEC and the Delaware and Ulster Railroad. The festival will take place on October 11-12 at the Delaware and Ulster Railroad on Route 28 in Arkville.
Asked why the event was moved there, DEC spokeswoman Maureen Wren said “The railroad had offered to host it at their location and we agreed.”
“This year’s festival will offer train rides, a huge ski and winter apparel sale, live music, great food, dozens of craft vendors, a kids’ crafts tent, face painting, and much more - all at the peak of fall color in the Catskill Mountains,” she added.
But many still wonder why it needed to be moved in the first place. Wren said that budget-cutting decisions for Belleayre are being made by a team of DEC officials, including those officials who are in charge at Belleayre, but she would not offer specifics as to why cuts like the Fall Festival were made.
Tony Lanza, Belleayre’s superintendent and presumably the person who provides local input to those decisions, declined to comment.
When it was announced that the Fall Festival was being moved, not everyone was pleased. At Saturday’s rally at Belleayre, vendors who were scheduled to be at the Fall Festival complained that all decisions about the festival have been made in secret even though they greatly affect the vendors. Some said they would not participate in a festival in Arkville.
Rob Stanley, a Shandaken Town Councilman, has warned DEC officials that unless the festival is put back at Belleayre it will not have community support and even hinted that there may be events competing with it.
“Holding it outside of our town and county will be a detriment to Belleayre, the Hamlet of Pine Hill, the Town of Shandaken and the County of Ulster,” Stanley said.” Yes, the cars will pass through, but they will do just that…..We will do what’s necessary in order to draw business into our hamlets on that weekend.”