Catskill Mountain Archery Festival this Saturday

(Photo by Ivan McLellan)

There’s something so romantic about the sport of archery – something that makes it appeal even to people who could never imagine themselves wanting to pick up a gun and blow away something warm and fuzzy. It’s partly that it’s such an ancient technology, of course, and associated with many classic adventure tales, from Robin Hood to The Lord of the Rings. And aiming a bow seems to test individual skill in a way that hunting with firearms does not: Even with such high-tech modern advances as electronic sights and compound bows, the targeted critter still seems to have a fair chance of getting away.

You can have fun with a bow and arrow without ever having a living thing within your sights, of course. Archery also builds upper-body strength, hand-eye coordination, balance, focus and discipline. And with Katniss Everdeen and Princess Merida joining Legolas and the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest amongst the pantheon of role models for young archers, don’t be too surprised if your daughter as well as your son is tugging at your sleeve these days to learn the basics of the sport.

Happily, Kenco in Kingston is supplying an opportunity this Saturday to give your offspring (or even yourself) some fun exposure to the art and tools of archery. The Catskill Mountain Archery Festival will introduce kids and beginners to the basic moves through an all-day Balloon Shoot. More advanced practitioners can vie for prizes in a series of moving 3D target competitions. There will also be lots of vendors present, so you can test out a broad range of demo weapons – including crossbows, which are now legal in New York State.

The event begins at 11 a.m. with the Armored Buck and Running Rabbit competitions. The Walking Bear and Accuracy Shoot contests get underway at 1:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to the winners of each contest and for best overall score. There will be a raffle drawing at the end of the day, with a Mathews DXT Compound Bow the Grand Prize. The fun goes on rain or shine, admission is free and raffle tickets cost $10 each.

The Catskill Mountain Archery Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 11. Admission is free. Kenco is located at 1000 Hurley Mountain Road, where it intersects Route 28 just west of the Kingston traffic circle. For more information call (845) 338-5021 or (845) 340-0552, or visit

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