This weekend: The Hobart Horseshoe Festival

There are some things that just go together. Ice and tea. Beans and cornbread. Hobart and horseshoes.

Back in the late 1700s, local lore tells, Hobart pioneer Foote More was the first in the nation to manufacture those square nails once used to keep the horses of America shod.

Over 200 years later, Hobart's still celebrating the humble horseshoe with an annual festival that features a horseshoe tournament, a duck race on the Delaware River, antique farm equipment, a petting zoo, and fair food galore. After dark on Saturday, the Stamford Fire Department will set off fireworks at the nearby Cyr Center in Stamford.

Hobart Horseshoe Festival, Saturday, July 23, 10am - 4pm. Hobart Community Center Park, Hobart, Delaware County. Fireworks after dark, Frank W. Cyr Center, 159 West Main Street, Stamford.

This weekend: Permaculture festival at Camp Epworth in High Falls

Photo: Dave Jacke, author of the indispensable two-volume textbook Edible Forest Gardens and local hero of the permaculture movement, in action. Courtesy of the Northeast Permaculture Convergence.

This Saturday marks the high point of the year for local permaculture enthusiasts: The seventh annual Northeast Permaculture Convergence is taking over the grounds of Camp Epworth in High Falls for a day of workshops, demos, bartering and selling of tools and seeds, local organic food, music, art and celebration of all things permaculture.

"Permaculture" is a slippery word to define -- like "sustainable," another buzzword of the green-design movement, it means different things to different people. But the general consensus is that it entails designing ways to grow food that integrate with both natural ecological systems and human culture.

Keynote speaker Dave Jacke says it's bigger than agriculture:  Read more

It's down to the wire for our photo contest ...

Photo by Flickr user Paul Reynolds.

Midnight tonight is the deadline for our photo contest about the "best-kept secret" in the Catskills, and the submissions are coming in! We're discovering things that we had no idea existed up here. I'd say more, but I don't want to spill the beans until tomorrow.

There's still time to enter. Send a photo of your favorite obscure Catskills treasure to [email protected] Judging is tonight. The winner will get two free tickets to a dinner-dance at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge. (Click here for more details and fine print.)


Thunder in Big Indian

Children learn to drum at the Thunder in the Valley Pow-wow in Big Indian Park. Photo by Rusty Mae Moore.

On Saturday, Native American vendors, dancers, and drummers from across the region and as far away as Mexico gathered in Big Indian for the Thunder in the Valley Pow-Wow.

Twenty vendors and a crowd of children and adults gathered to listen to folk tales, try a hand at drumming, and swap stories about being Cree, Lakota, Micmac, Delaware, Seneca, and Aztec.

The pow-wow was organized by the Big Indian Native American Cultural Center. Mary Lou Stapleton, known as Spirit Dance, founded the center with her husband Frank 11 years ago. Stapleton said that anybody is welcome to join.

“You don't have to be Native American,” she said. “We are a friendly place where all nations are welcome."

Red Wing, a woman from Langhorne, Pennsylvania, was one of the non-Indians at Saturday's pow-wow. She said that her family joined the Native American Cultural Center years ago when they attended a car show at Big Indian and were invited to join a native "talking circle" taking place nearby.  Read more

They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh: "The Catskills is the new Williamsburg"

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Video: They Might Be Giants performs "Canajoharie," a song off their new album Join Us, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, October 2, 2010.

In an interview with Gothamist yesterday about They Might Be Giants' new album release, legendary alt-rocker John Flansburgh let it slip that both of TMBG's Johns have Catskills hideaways:

We both have little weekend retreat laboratories in the Catskills. The Catskills is the new Williamsburg. There, I said it! There is more artisanal pork being butchered there than anywhere else.

Oh no! Not another "_____ is the new _____"! Somebody call Ivan Lajara!  Read more

Saugerties drops plans to buy Opus 40

Photo of bluestone sculpture at Opus 40 in Saugerties by Flickr user Insignifica. Published under Creative Commons license.

In the Daily Freeman today: A letter from the supervisor of Saugerties announced today that the town is pulling out of an effort to buy Opus 40, the legendary homestead and life's work of bluestone sculptor Harvey Fite.

The town had been trying since last year to find a way to buy the bluestone sculpture park on Fite Road and make it a public venue, and a non-profit corporation called the Committee to Create Opus 40 Museum was formed to work with the town to turn Opus 40 and its assets into a museum chartered by the state Board of Regents.

[Supervisor Greg] Helsmoortel’s letter states the town’s decision to withdraw acceptance of the $400,000 state Environmental Protection Fund grant and no longer seek ownership of Opus 40 was made after consulting with the Committee to Create Opus 40 Museum.  Read more

Catskills bus incident dubbed "gay Rosa Parks"

Ari Gold, a gay pop star, was the target of homophobia on a Catskills-bound Short Line Bus last weekend in an incident that is being compared to Rosa Parks' famous stand in Montgomery.

According to the Village Voice's Michael Musto, who broke the story, Gold was holding hands with his boyfriend in the front seat of the bus when the bus driver asked him to move to the back. When Gold said no, the driver called the police:

"Then he pulled over," says Gold. "The state trooper came and asked what the problem is, and he said that the way were were sitting was making him uncomfortable and he wanted us off the bus. "The trooper said nothing was illegal and he needs to continue to drive." Gold made an announcement to the other passengers, explaining that they had been pulled over to wait for the state trooper because he was holding hands with a man. They all seemed deeply pissed at the blatant homophobia. Gold -- the gay Rosa Parks -- will be filing charges.  Read more

Theaters are cropping up across the Catskills

Photo by Flickr user Alina Sofia.

It's a renaissance weekend for theaters in the Catskills. At the Woodstock Playhouse, the first summer stock season on the safe side of foreclosure continues.  In Tannersville, the expansion and renovation of The Orpheum Performing Arts Center is on the brink of completion. In in Oneonta, the Oneonta Theatre is in its 114th year of operation. If you want to spend a night out this weekend, all three venues have big plans in store.  Read more

'Psychobilly' by Pitchfork Militia to shake Bearsville Theater tonight

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Video: Pitchfork Militia plays Jason's Upstairs Bar in Hudson, 2009.

Tonight's lineup at the Bearsville Theater: Too much rock for one band.

Fred Perry, owner of Reservoir Music Center in Shokan, is celebrating the fifth anniversary of his store's opening. And he's lined up at least five acts to mark the occasion with a blow-out at the Bearsville Theater tonight. 

The headliners, Palenville band Pitchfork Militia, play a high-energy mashup of rock, blues, country and punk, dubbed 'psychobilly' (or even 'apocabilly'). "It's fun, fast and loud," says frontman Peter Head.  (Bonus punk-rock points for shredding with a firetruck.)  Read more

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