Monday, February 20, 2012

Ice Festival... Apple Blossoms next?

One of the major interests voiced in the Arts and Ag focus groups was developing ways to extend and elaborate the "season" for visiting the farms and how arts could contribute to new, fresh agri-tourism activities on the farms. We knew that we'd have to try out--"field test?"-- some of this before we could present it to the farms as a appropriate activity. Optimists Robert Schmick of Museum Village and Julia Kole of Arrow Park developed an "Ice Harvest Festival" as a form of heritage and agri-tourism tourism with an arts component. So, on Sunday, February 19, with no ice and a article that day in the local paper saying that all the ice-related activities in the region had been cancelled this year... The First Orange County Ice Harvest Festival was held at Arrow Park in Monroe from 11AM to 3PM. We did find one piece of ice in the bottom of a 10-gallon bucket.

About 120 people passed though the event. Some had come from Maine where there was a similar festival the week before. They brought chunks of ice and a sled used to haul ice and a collection of ice harvesting tools. Thank you!
There were musicians, storytellers, plein air painters, archeologists and a few hands-on artist/craftspeople and a beautiful horse showed up!

Julia Kole's homemade borscht and perogies were notable! For many people this was the first experience of the beauty of Arrow Park and for many of us it was another day of enjoying each other's company. We missed not having more Ag people there.

The next event we are discussing is a mid-late April Apple Blossom festival. We need to form a committee of people intyerested in making it happen at one, some or all of the area orchards.

1 comment:

  1. I am not sure when apple blossoms appear exactly in the area ( nobody may be clear, as seasons are a bit askew of recent), as I have spent a lot of time up in Maine since my childhood in Warwick. There might be an historical precedence that might be interesting to attach to a Spring event. There is a circa 1885 photograph in the Warwick Historical Society's Baird's Tavern in downtown Warwick ( and Museum Village also has a print of this in their collection) that depicts the then annual "Hoodoo" festival, which was a recreation of the ancient tradition of the May Pole ceremony. This occurred around a tree that is still standing between Baird's Tavern and what is now Key Bank (Hylah Hasbrouck's house of yore). In addition, the Algonquin-speaking Lenape of Mistucky village of yore in Warwick likely tapped birch, alder, and maples for their sap, as legend tells us. Maple Syruping is done on a large scale to this day in New York State as well, although I am not sure on what scale it is done in Orange County in the past and present? Warwick schools in my day tapped trees and made syrup for a pancake breakfast on the Doc Fry Center grounds ( formerly Hamilton Avenue Elementary School).At my former museum in Maine our maple syrup festival was the largest in attendance, as we demonstrated and served up samples of food flavored with syrup, including baked beans, ginger ice cream with syrup drizzled on top, and maple syrup candy.