8/15-17: Hudson Valley Ribfest in New Paltz
Barbecue pitmasters take their craft seriously — seriously enough to travel half a country away to compete in the Hudson Valley Ribfest. A not-to-miss event for meat-eating foodies, Ribfest features not only the competitive grilling aspect but plenty of opportunity to taste as well. Think you know about barbecue sauce? Prepare to get schooled. Look forward to chicken, pork ribs, seafood and a ton of opportunities to eat well. Expect live music both days, and also grilling demonstrations and tips from the champs. Admission is $5, but you can save by pre-ordering or getting the $12 three-day pass. Kids under 12 are free. Fairgrounds are open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Ulster County Fairgrounds are located at 249 Libertyville Road, on the west side of the Wallkill from New Paltz. For info, visit www.hudsonvalleyribfest.org.
8/16-17: International Celtic Festival
Just like on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish at the International Celtic Festival. Topnotch traditional Celtic musicians will play all weekend, but there are also performances from the Screaming Oprhans, Shilelagh Law and the Fighting Jamesons. Step dancers, Irish food specialties and of course plenty of ale and stout are also featured. If bagpipes stir your freckled soul to attention, the annual epic spectacle of bagpipers marching en masse down the mountain takes place on Sunday. Admission costs $16. Kids 12 and under are free. Hunter Mountain is off Route 23A in Hunter. For more info including the full music schedule, visit www.huntermtn.com/huntermtn/festivals/summer-festivals-celtic.aspx.
8/19-24: Dutchess County Fair in Rhinebeck
Dutchess County Fair dwarfs just about everything except maybe a state fair. It’s so big, with so much to do, that you could safely come back day after day and see new things. Part of that has to do with the fairgrounds in Rhinebeck being more than 144 acres. There are exotic animals on display, Peruvian pan flutists, great music, tons of food, jugglers, horticultural exhibits, tons of animals and more. Gates open at 10 a.m. each day. General admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and military personnel with ID and free for kids under age 12. Midway rides cost extra; passes for 10 rides for $20 can be purchased online before Aug. 18. Check https://dutchessfair.com for details.
8/30-9/1: Woodstock-New Paltz Arts & Crafts Fair in New Paltz
If the craft vending booths at other fairs left you yearning for more, the Woodstock-New Paltz Arts & Crafts Fair will fill the need. This long-running show features more than 300 juried artists, so quality is to be expected. Labor Day weekend at the County Fairgrounds, the Arts & Crafts Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Labor Day. The Ulster County Fairgrounds are located at 249 Libertyville Road, on the west side of the Wallkill from New Paltz. Admission costs $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and is free for kids ages 12 and under. Get info, at www.quailhollow.com.
9/6-7: Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest
Another culinary event of note is the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. Now in its 13th year, the celebration of New York State wineries, tasteful eating, craft beer and liquor is bound to please gourmands of all kinds. Last year’s fest featured celebrity chefs and cooking demonstrations, as well as wine and food seminars. The event is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Online advance tickets for regular adult admission cost $35 for one day. It’s $65 for the whole weekend. Neither tickets include food sampling or beer tasting. However, a Tasting Ticket is required for entry to the beer pavilion. Restaurant samples are priced between $1 and $5. People who’d like to attend but forego the wine tastings and beer, can expect to pay $17 for an online advance one-day ticket, and $32 for the weekend pass. For more info, visit www.hudsonvalleywinefest.com.
9/14: Taste of New Paltz
Another hotly anticipated foodie event in southern Ulster County each year is Taste of New Paltz, now in its 24rd year. Restaurants and caterers galore set up shop with their best-of-show dishes to serve to the public. It’s also a huge exposition of farm market stands and local wineries. There’s typically a small entry fee, and food costs a little more. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., but come early since the food tends to sell out. The Ulster County Fairgrounds, located at 249 Libertyville Road on the west side of the Wallkill from New Paltz, offer ample free parking. For more info, search for Taste of New Paltz on Facebook or visit https://www.newpaltzchamber.org/news_events/Taste_of_New_Paltz.aspx.
9/19-21: Woodstock Comedy Festival
Back for its second year, The Woodstock Comedy Festival will take place at various locations throughout Woodstock. No headliners have yet been announced, but last year’s shows featured Dick Cavett, Mario Cantone, and Josh Ruben, and events this year so far have starred Caroline Rhea and Sasheer Zamata. Billed as Comedy for a Cause, net profits are donated to the Polaris Project and Family of Woodstock for the battle against human trafficking and domestic violence.
For more information, see www.woodstockcomedyfestival.org.
9/20-21: Hudson Valley Harvest Festival
In its third year, the Hudson Valley Harvest Festival celebrates the unique agricultural heritage of the Hudson Valley. It’s a two-day event to honor local farmers, food producers and agricultural workers, and it aims to educate people about how local food is grown — and why it is important. Put on the Cornell Cooperative Extension and Family of Woodstock, Harvest Fest proceeds go to benefit both organizations. Aside from good food and music, expect kids’ activities, 4-H Club livestock exhibits and educational and food science demonstrations. For people who’ve missed out 4-H milkshakes at the county fairs, this event is also one of the last festivals during the year where you can snag one. It’s also at the Ulster County Fairgrounds, located at 249 Libertyville Road on the west side of the Wallkill from New Paltz. Learn more at www.hudsonvalleyharvestfestival.com.
9/27-28: Hudson Valley Garlic Festival
Get ready to experience all things garlic — from chocolate to ice cream — because the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival is coming back. For 25 years, Saugerties has celebrated the culinary staple. This year’s event will again be at Cantine Field. Besides all the garlic foods, there’s live music and Mr. Garlic running around. Learn how to cook with garlic from chef demos, and check out the food and craft vendors. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more info and ticket prices, visit https://hvgf.org.