Prize pies & blue skies: The 24th annual Gardiner Day

Scene from previous incarnations of Gardiner Day (photo by Julie O’Connor)

It says something about how often it rains on Gardiner Day (no matter what time of year it’s held) that when one Googles “Gardiner Day,” the search page brings up the ten-day weather forecast for the town as well, just a few items down from information on the event. The forecast for Gardiner Day this year, however (as of presstime), is for pretty much perfect weather: 69 degrees, sunny and zero chance of rain.

The 24th annual affair at Majestic Park on Saturday, September 14 is expected to host some 1,000 visitors. The daylong event features a variety of family-friendly entertainment and activities, including live music, food vendors, piemaking contests, pony rides and Majestic View Farm’s wonderful dancing Peruvian horses.

Prizes will be awarded to winners in the fruit pie bakeoff, a competition open to all amateur bakers over age 16. Judging will be on overall appearance and color, flavor and texture of the crust and filling. Bonus points are given for using King Arthur flour (sponsor of the event). How do they know? A UPC label or the empty bag that held the flour is required for proof. First Prize is a $75 gift card to the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Store, Second Prize is the same in a $50 increment and Third Prize is a Baker’s Companion Cookbook. All remaining pie after the judging will be sold for $2 per slice.

And on your way to or from Majestic Park, stop by the Gardiner Library at 133 Farmers’ Turnpike, where they’ll hold a big book and CD/DVD sale on that day. Hours on Saturday are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (The Book Fair will be held the following day as well: Sunday, September 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) Admission is free.

And speaking of the library, regular visitors to the weekly Greenmarket held in the library parking lot each Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. have noticed lately that for the past few weeks, the consortium of farm-fresh fruit and veggie growers has moved its operation to the parking lot outside the HiHo Home Market and Antiques Center on Main Street/Route 44/55, just past the “S-curve.” If a visit to Gardiner Day this Saturday inspires a return visit to the hamlet, look for the growers in this new site each Friday through the end of October, after which the Greenmarket will return to the Gardiner Library’s community room to offer their wares indoors.

And in the spirit of Gardiner Day, celebrating all things Gardiner, it’s worth noting that it is indeed a good idea to make a return visit to the town. This has been a “good news/bad news” year for merchants in the hamlet, with the new sidewalk construction being the good news. The bad news is the flip side of that coin: Many merchants say that they lost quite a bit of revenue over the summer due to the construction process inhibiting the usual shoppers and diners.

But all the fuss is over now, and those businesses are now fronted by beautifully paved sidewalks that make Gardiner a welcoming and walkable place for pedestrians. So while enjoying what promises to be a stellar Gardiner Day this Saturday, keep in mind that just down the street is a small enclave of welcoming shops and eateries that will be there all year round.

Gardiner Day, Saturday, September 14, 9 a.m., free, Majestic Park, follow signs off Route 44/55; (845) 255-9675, or on Facebook at Gardiner Day New York.

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