Everybody knows when summer really starts: this weekend. Monday will be marked by official Memorial Day observances in many towns, but all weekend long, there’s plenty of unofficial fun to be had, from music fests to boat races to town-wide yard sales. Here’s our five-county guide to the good times.
AROUND THE CATSKILLS
The five restored fire towers of the Catskill Park open for the season this weekend: Balsam Lake Mountain in Hardenburgh, Red Hill in Denning, Tremper Mountain in Shandaken, Overlook Mountain in Woodstock and Hunter Mountain in Hunter. Volunteer staffers will be at the towers every weekend from now through Columbus Day, to help fill you in on fire tower history, mountain know-how and more. Lace up your hiking boots and dust off the binoculars for those 100-mile views.
Memorial Day Weekend also marks the opening of four New York City reservoirs to recreational boating for the season: the Cannonsville, Neversink, Pepacton and Schoharie. Friday, May 23 is the official opening day of reservoir recreation. On Saturday, May 24, the Catskill Mountain Club invites you to celebrate with an 11 a.m. paddle on the Pepacton. You can bring your (steam-cleaned and DEP-approved) canoe or kayak or rent one nearby, meet the Catskill Mountain Club crew at the Shavertown Bridge Recreational Boating Launch, three miles west of Margaretville, and enjoy what this life-on-a-watershed business is all about.
Main Street in Fleischmanns will be packed with vendors and merrymakers for the Annual Memorial Day Weekend Celebration on Saturday. Visit the Museum of Memories, pick up a beach read at the Skene Library book sale, rest your feet on an old-school horse drawn carriage ride, then grab a plate of chicken BBQ and head over to hear Country Express and their friends. (Rain date is Sunday.)
The Hobart Book Village will be hosting their gigantic Memorial Day sale: five bookstores, welcoming you all weekend long, 30 percent off everything in stock. A bibliophile’s must.
This is opening weekend for the historic Delaware & Ulster Railroad in Arkville. Come celebrate with them and ride the Catskills in style. It’s a round-trip journey on a beautifully-restored vintage train between Arkville and Roxbury loaded with views to cherish; definitely bring the camera for this one.
In Roxbury, Plattekill Mountain will be hosting some spectacular mountain bike action as the ProGRT races come to town from May 22-26. Non-pros can rent a bike to ride the mountain or the Catskill Scenic Rail Trail, do some geocaching, or take a scenic chairlift ride.
Nearby in the village of Roxbury, the "gypsy jazz" band Caravan of Thieves will play the Roxbury Arts Group on Saturday night, May 24.
On Saturday night, the Shire Pub in Delhi hosts a benefit concert for local glass artist Teddy Halstead, who is battling large granulated lymphocyte leukemia. Halstead's friends -- local roots-rock band Esquela -- will be playing the show, which will also feature raffles and a silent auction with some of Halstead's glass work.
The Andes Hotel in Andes will be celebrating the second annual Doylestock on Sunday. The event’s a fundraiser for music students established in memory of the late Terry Doyle, a WIOX radio host and tireless promoter of local music. The party features great music, slammin’ BBQ, a Chinese auction, and overall great vibes.
Over the county line in Chenango County, but to good not to mention, is the General Clinton Canoe Regatta Weekend in Bainbridge. World-class paddlers will be competing in a 70-mile marathon on the Susquehanna, among other races. Saturday is Kids’ Day, with a wrestling contest, canoe parade, animals, and puppets; Sunday is the Regatta Music Fest. There’ll be a craft and flea market all weekend long into Monday, and fireworks on Saturday and Sunday nights.
Come join the people of Tannersville as they celebrate the annual Rubber Duck Race & Crazy Boat Race this Saturday. We’re talking 500 rubber ducks launched into Gooseberry Creek, with the first three finishers taking home cash prizes, and that’s just for starters. Then there are the Crazy Boats, and of course there’s BBQ, music, and vending going on.
They’ve a fine lineup for the East Durham Irish Festival on Saturday. Eight Irish bands, four bagpipe shows, and four step dancing shows will enliven three pavilions. They’ll have a genuine rugby match and plenty of eats and drinks.
Also in East Durham: a three-day Memorial Day blowout at the Blackthorne Inn, jammed with entertainment and food.
In Hunter, you can shop till you drop at various locations of the First Annual Memorial Day Weekend Garage Sale on Saturday and Sunday.
The village of Sharon Springs will be celebrating “everything that grows” at its Garden Party Saturday and Sunday, with over 100 vendor booths featuring local farmers, artisans, merchants and more.
They’ll be filling the county parking lots in the village of Schoharie with gleaming vintage heavy metal for the Fourth Annual Schoharie Sloughters Car Show on Saturday. The event draws thousands of car lovers from all over the region to enjoy the vehicles, eats, flea market, crafters and music.
The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts will be hosting the first U.S. edition of Mysteryland, the world’s longest-running electronic music festival. It’s three days of genre-blending programming featuring seven distinct musical arenas, over 200 world-renowned DJs, local up-and-comers, colorful acts, and performers. If you like your entertainment cutting-edge and experimental, you might want to reserve a Holy Land campsite starting Friday for the pre-party.
If you’re headed anywhere near Liberty on Saturday or Sunday, download a map and clear some space in the car for the fantastic things you’ll find all over town at the Fourteenth Annual Yard-Sale-O-Rama.
On Sunday, Liberty will also be the site of the 3rd Annual Sullivan County Soap Box Derby. Stop by North Main Street and support the youth in between yard sales.
With three well-stocked tackle shops, Roscoe is always a good place to pick up fishing gear -- but especially on Sunday, when the annual Angler's Market rolls around. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the town community center, vendors will be selling a variety of new and used gear.
Memorial Day Weekend kicks off train season on the Catskill Mountain Railroad. Rides on the Kingston City Limited and the Esopus Scenic Trail from Mt. Tremper start up on Saturday, May 24.
Unison Learning Center in New Paltz is having its usual gigantic and rather amazing Barn Sale on Saturday, featuring the cool odds-and-ends of the artsy peeps.
And speaking of artsy peeps, also in New Paltz, the spring edition of the Woodstock/New Paltz Arts and Crafts Fair will be taking over the Ulster County Fairgrounds all three days. It’s a juried show that draws hundreds of top-flight exhibitors from all over the Eastern Seaboard and beyond.
Need still more cool odds-and-ends? The Williams Lake Project folks in Rosendale will be having the Mother of All Yard Sales, featuring goodies, miscellany and Vintage Junque from the old hotel. Expect a highly festive atmosphere with live music on both Saturday and Sunday, as treasure-hunters come out to support three favorite Rosendale causes: the pool renovation, the food pantry, and the Rosendale Theatre.
Up in Saugerties, Horse Shows In The Sun (HITS) will be hosting one of their dramatic, high-dollar displays of world-class horses and riders. This weekend is HITS-on-the-Hudson I, and lovers of fine equestrian artistry can do no better.
A Memorial Day Auction on Sunday evening at Belleayre’s Upper Lodge in Highmount will benefit the Belleayre Music Festival. C’mon out and dance, dine, and bid on cool stuff.
It’s Uke Fest weekend at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge. Come see six ukelele greats perform at once, at the concert on Saturday evening, or jam out under their tutelage at the Center's four-day Uke Camp.
Know of another great Memorial Day Weekend event happening in the Catskills? Let us know with a comment below.