How to spend Columbus Day weekend in the Catskills

Above: Sugar maples. Photo by DeirdreLovesTrees, submitted to the Watershed Post Flickr pool.

This is it: The peak of fall. Columbus Day Weekend is the biggest weekend of the year in the Catskills, the time when the leaves peak in glorious colors and the fullness of harvest sets in. Come out and paint a pumpkin, crunch a crisp apple and savor the last live outdoor music of 2015. Here’s our guide to what’s up where from Friday, Oct. 9 to Monday, Oct. 12. 


It’ll be a farm-fresh feast at Sunday’s Octoberfest Pig Roast at Heather Ridge Farm in Preston Hollow. If you’ve never tasted an Ossabaw Island heritage breed pig, you have no idea what roast pork can taste like; they’ll be roasting a whole one and serving it up with authentic German-style sides like spaetzli and sweet and sour red cabbage. Plus, you can meet a newborn alpaca. Sunday, October 11, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. 


Come celebrate Catskill Mountainkeeper’s sixth annual Taste of the Catskills Festival in Delhi. It’s a nutritious expo dedicated to all that’s wonderful around these hills and how to keep it that way. The festival features music, family activities, local food and beer, regional vendors, fireworks, hayrides, puppet shows and celebrities. The fun is seasoned with educational workshops and activities on the opportunities and challenges facing the Catskills, what Mountainkeeper is doing about these issues, and how you can help. It’s happening on Saturday, Oct. 10 and Sunday, Oct. 11 at Maple Shade Farm, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday’s Harvest Dinner has its first seating at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, Oct. 10, Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury will be hosting the sixth annual “Plattepalooza” Family Fall Festival. They’ll have pumpkin painting, craft vendors, BBQ, entertainment, a ski sale and more. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At the Delaware County fairgrounds in Walton, the American Cancer Society will hold a Harvest Festival featuring vendors with holiday and fall decor, paintings, photography, pumpkins and squash, woodworking, jewelry, children's crafts, live demonstrations, food and music. Saturday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Downsville hosts the Maple Leaf Festival on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with chainsaw demonstrations, BBQ, live music and hayrides. The next day, get free champagne with the Harvest Brunch at the Old Schoolhouse Inn & Restaurant in Downsville on Sunday, Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Sunday, Oct. 11, it’s FIDDLERS! Festival time in Roxbury at Hilt Kelly Hall. Fiddling legend Hilt Kelly, star of the proceedings for two decades, passed away in March; come hear the new crop of top artists bring his timeless legacy to life in music and dance. Award winners and stars like Linsey Beckett, Brittany Haas, Crooked Still, Nic Gareiss, Laura Kortright and Steve Jacobi, and The Tremperskill Boys will perform boot-stompin’ mountain tunes; expect many a heartfelt tribute. Ate O Ate Catering is bringing the yummies. Oct. 11, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.


Cairo will be celebrating its annual Apple Harvest Festival all weekend long with eats and drinks, live music, kiddie rides, craft vendors and a pie baking contest. Saturday, Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Come and lark in the park with the experts on Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Mountain Top Historical Society’s HikeFest 2015, which will offer a choice of four three-hour hikes with popular, experienced guides from their Haines Falls campus. After the hikes, they’ll host a classic cookout; then there will be presentations on the Kaaterskill Rail Trail, the Catskill Center and the ups and downs of ice climbing. The day begins at 9 a.m.They request reservations for the hikes and for lunch; [email protected] or 518-589-6657.

Ready for some seriously great pumpkins? Come out to the Tannersville Great Pumpkin Walk & Lighting on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. Bring your best carved pumpkin and candle and join the Pumpkin Walk with lit pumpkins lining the Main Street. Register on porch of Maggie’s Krooked Cafe from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.  They’ll light ‘em up at 7:30 p.m., with awards for scariest, funniest, craziest, most creative and peoples’ choice.

European cars will rally in Hunter on Oct. 10 and 11 during Hunter Mountain's Das Laufwerk Eurocar Rally, which runs alongside the ski resort’s month-long Oktoberfest festival, which features live music, German food and kids’ activities. 

Windham will be up for good times all weekend long with the town’s signature autumn celebration on Main Street. At Autumn Affair 2015 you’ll find “crafts, delicious foods, kid activities, live music, and street performers, magicians, balloon animals, pumpkin painting and more” on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m and on Sunday, Oct. 11, 10 a.m. to  5 p.m.

Up the road, Windham Mountain throws its Homecoming Festival on Saturday, Oct. 10 with a “swap and sell,” skyrides, live music, a pumpkin painting area for the kids, a pie-eating contest and the Mountain Bike Park's final 2015 weekend. 


Come to Rotterdam for autumnal hijinx at the Maple Ski Ridge Fall Festival craft, car and tractor Show. They’ll indulge your senses with a tractor agility contest, an interactive engines display, a play area for the kids, chair lift rides to the top of the ridge for a view of the beautiful fall scenery, hay wagon rides, a pie eating contest and a bake-off. Saturday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


If the skies are reasonably clear, they’re having a splendid public Star Party at Landis Arboretum in Esperance Friday, Oct. 9 and Saturday, Oct. 10. Nebulae, star clusters, other galaxies, planets and “cosmic marvels” will be sighted in for your viewing bliss. Party starts at 8 p.m. both nights.

The indomitable Iroquois are holding their Shades of Autumn Fall Fundraiser at the Iroquois Museum in Howes Caves on Sunday, Oct. 11 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.  There will be a feast of harvest-themed refreshments, a silent auction, an exhibit entitled “Buckskin to Bikinis,”  storytelling, movies, kids’ fun, atlatl-throwing and a workshop on “fabulous footwear.” 


The Founder's Day Oktoberfest celebrates Jeffersonville’s German and Swiss Heritage all weekend. They’ll have a parade, a Great Pumpkin race, a frankfurter-eating contest, bed races, tug-of-war, archery and traditional Oktoberfest games as well as ghost stories, live music and a German/Swiss themed feast. Saturday, Oct. 10 and Sunday, Oct. 11, 11 a.m. to  6 p.m. 

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy in Kauneonga Lake invites you to share in both night time and daytime wonder this weekend. On Friday night, Oct. 9, (or on Saturday if it’s cloudy) local astronomer John Kocijanski will present a free Star Watch program; watch the stars and planets, observe deep sky objects and learn how to locate the constellations. On Saturday morning, Oct. 10, you can join a guided hike sponsored by Trailkeeper; you’ll need to preregister. Friday, Oct. 9: Star Watch, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10: hike, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Barryville’s chamber of commerce presents a Pumpkin Fest on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Carriage House Inn. Come out and enjoy arts, food, music, pumpkin decorating and carving, a bake-off, scarecrow designing, costumes, pie eating and more.

Above: The inaugural Honeybee Fest in Narrowsburg features speeches and tastings. Photo via the Honeybee Fest's Facebook page. 

Narrowsburg has chosen the honeybee and all its gifts to be the star of the town’s mid-autumn Honeybee Fest on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a parade at 10 a.m. and a vendors’ market all day; bee-inspired art shows and kids’ activities; honey tastings; a garden tour and bee-related educational presentations; and  a live beehive on display all day long. Local eateries are outdoing themselves with sweet creativity: taste honey-caramel lattes, mead, honey wings, honey ice cream, gourmet locavore honey-themed dinners and cocktails crafted from honey whiskey.

The good folk of the Liberty Museum and Arts Festival will celebrate their 22nd annual Harvest of the Arts on Saturday, filling Main Street with the sounds of jazz and the tantalizing aroma of chili. Come out and harvest some early holiday gifts from the crafters and sidewalk sellers and have yourself a bowl of the good stuff. Saturday, Oct. 10 from 112 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Craft beer from 32 breweries will be on tap at the Craft Beer Festival at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Designated driver tickets available. 


The O+ Festival, that innovative swap meet of performance and healing, will be enlivening Kingston with more music and art than any one individual could possibly absorb all weekend long.  This year’s headliners are Screaming Females, Corey Glover of Living Colour, Widowspeak, and The Bongos (Reunited); there will be over 60 bands and 25 artists in all. Festivities begin with a parade on Friday evening and continue through late Sunday afternoon. Friday, Oct. 9 through Sunday, Oct. 11 pretty much nonstop.

The folks at Mountain Haven Animal Rescue and Support Services have a great day planned for humans and their pets at the Dog Daze of Fall event at Saunderskill Farm Market in Accord on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “Celebrate all things DOG!  Bring your dog, come, sit, stay and play the day away.” They’ll have contests, 50/50 raffles, agility fun, a costume parade, vendors and vast quantities of puppy (and post-puppy) love.

What goes, “Squish, squish, slurp?” Why, the Grape Stomping Festival at the scenic Benmarl Winery in Marlboro, of course. All are invited to stomp some grapes, drink some wine and dance to live music on Saturday, Oct. 10 and Sunday, Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

At Belleayre Mountain in Highmount, the Fall Harvest Festival offers visitors a chance to peep the leaves from a skyride, catch live music and sample German food. Reap your own harvest of yard sale finds, crafts and ski equipment. Saturday, Oct. 10 and Sunday, Oct. 11, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This is the weekend for the grand finale of the Woodstock Guitar Sculpture Exposition. Come out to the Landau Grill in Woodstock on Sunday, Oct. 11 to view the 30 pieces by local masters and take home an heirloom, or just to schmooze. Proceeds will be shared between the creators and Family of Woodstock Crisis Hotline’s “Doors & Floors” project. Preview begins at 2 p.m., auction with guest auctioneer Martha Frankel at 3 .m., live music to follow.

The good folks at the Forsyth Nature Center in Kingston invite you to their 13th Annual Fall Festival, with live music, games, bounce houses and a corn maze on Sunday, Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Kingston’s waterfront hosts its annual Italian Festival on Sunday, Oct. 11 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. with live music, Italian food, street performers and Italian wines and beers.