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September 24, 2013

Event to highlight local farm history

By Mark Boshnack Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — A celebration of agriculture’s past, present and future will take center stage at the Margaretville village park Saturday.

The 10th annual Cauliflower Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Most of the activities are free, but some of the children’s events have a nominal fee to defray costs, according to a media release from the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce, which is sponsoring the festival.

Cauliflower was an important crop in the area, said Diane Galusha, president of the Middletown Historical Society. She is coordinating the group’s history tent, which will include an exhibit on the cauliflower industry and a display of farm history.

Galusha said the day isn’t only intended as a reflection of the cauliflower history, which began in the area in the 1890s and but ended in the 1990s for various reasons. It’s also to pay homage to the family farms that continue in the area.

“We’re glad to see young farmers putting land back into production,” including value-added projects, she said. “It’s a hopeful sign.”

“We want to keep the history alive,” said Carol O’Beirne, the chamber’s executive director. “This is a celebration of our agricultural history.”

A number of activities are planned, according to a media release. Live music will be performed from noon to 4 p.m. At noon and 2 p.m., Jason Starr will share songs and ballads from such artists as Woody Guthrie to Pete Seeger. At 1 p.m., the Catskill Mountain Boys will perform a set of blues and folk. The latter, working with guest caller John Jacobson, will lead new and experienced square dancers under the pavilion at 3 p.m.

At 11:30 a.m., a tractor parade will go down Main Street and circle the park. At 2:30 p.m., hay-baling demonstrations will be held at the nearby Davis farm. During the day, the farm will offer tractor-drawn hay rides along the East Branch of the Delaware River.

Vendors will sell a range of products, from woolen items to honey. Artisans will display stained glass, ceramics, original works and other handmade items. Food offerings include a chicken barbecue, pulled pork and cauliflower soup.

Family activities includes pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting and crafts with the Margaretville Central School student art club. Students from the school’s media class and Catskill Mountain Christian Academy will record memories and reflections of those affected by the 2011 flood.

All those who’d like to share their experiences during the flood and observations of how the region might move forward are invited to be videotaped for a short film to be developed by the students this year as part of the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program.

More information on the festival is available at www.cauliflowerfestival.com.