gardenFest planning beginning to take root

Staff report
Gardening enthusiasts who can’t wait to plant will be happy to know that gardenFest2013 is approaching. The event that celebrates all things related to gardening will be held on Saturday, May 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., which is the day before Mother’s Day.

Main Street in Margaretville will be bustling with colorful displays and plenty of visitors. The second annual gardenFest arrives just in time to find that perfect Mother’s Day gift and prepare for spring planting in the Catskills. Whether you’re looking for nurseries, gardening supplies and clothing, masonry, landscaping or outdoor furniture, there should be plenty on hand.

Organizers gearing up
Right now, organizers are continuing to sign up vendors and sponsors for the extravaganza, which they expect will be bigger and better than last year.  “This year’s event is expected to attract some 100 vendors, roughly 35 percent more than last year,” said Marc Levenshus of Foothills Shoe in Margaretville.  

This year, the recently formed Binnekill Business Council will be hosting the event. According to Levenshus, the Margaretville business owners’ action group was established last November to organize the Toys for Tots program as well as gardenFest2013. Also new this year is what Levenshus describes as a “home component” to the festival. There will be an area dedicated to interior design, bed and bath, house wares as well as antiques, making gradenFest2013 what he calls “a true home and garden festival.” 

Visitors will get a chance to meet local experts, who will be holding a series of five workshops on subjects including gardening, farming and forestry. Take a hike along the East Branch of the Delaware with herbalist Marguerite Ulhmann-Bower for a show-and-tell about wild food and plants growing in the month of May.

Seeds for thought
Local farmer Madalyn Warren of the Andes Sprout Society will plant some seeds for thought about a community-based project to save and share seeds that is quickly germinating across the region. Learn about goat milking from Cyndi Wright of Dirty Girl Farm in Andes or about beekeeping and mushroom farming from Will Patterson of TeaThyme Herb and Fruit Farm.

The Catskill Forest Association will discuss not only forest management, but wildlife habitat, maple sugaring, firewood and much more.

For those who love arts and crafts, members of the Catskill Mountain Artisans Guild will hold demonstrations on cement botanicals, chair caning, basket weaving and tie dying. They’ll also be providing crafts projects for children. Kids can have their faces painted too.

Music and more
If that’s not enough entertainment, there will also be local food vendors and live entertainment provided by local musicians. Members of the North American Cultural Laboratory Theater (NACL) of Highland Lake will kick up a little dirt with live music through their performance of “The Little Farm Show.” The musical explores the history of agriculture and asks people to consider their food choices.

For more information about the festival or for an application to be a vendor, check out the event’s website and Facebook page by looking up gardenFest2013.