Food trucks, wine tastings and antique cars; what could be better than that?
This past Sunday, the New Paltz Chamber of Commerce held the 29th annual Taste of New Paltz Festival at Ulster County Fairgrounds. This yearly event highlights some of the best restaurants, distilleries and businesses in the Hudson Valley region. Some of the vendors included Taconic Distillery, Whitecliff Vineyard and Union Grove Distillery.
Along with an abundance of alcohol vendors, there were also countless food trucks lining the outskirts of the festival including Off the Hook, a seafood place offering fresh lobster rolls and shrimp specials.
However, some students were dismayed at the lack of food options.
“[It was] just a bunch of vendors selling their stuff. There was minimal food,” said visual arts major Caroline Waldman. “Although, I did like the farm animals and foster parents trying to get dogs adopted.”
On the right side of the fairgrounds was the mainstage, which hosted many different performances throughout the day with artists such as Laila Mach, Brianna Knight, Take the Leap Dance Studio and Soul City.
There was also a dunk tank that community members could participate in, which held some familiar faces. Mayor of New Paltz Tim Rogers, Town of New Paltz Police Chief Lt. Rob Lucchesi and Town of New Paltz Supervisor Neil Bettez all took a turn in the hot seat.
New to the festival this year were helicopter rides, sponsored by Independent Helicopters and the Lakeside Licks Cruisers Car show. The helicopter ride was around 10 to 15 minutes long, and it was $60 for each person riding. The business expo, located in the Youth Building, gave residents a look at the local establishments around New Paltz, such as the Mid-Hudson Library System.
Colorful maps and guidebooks beckoned people to the tables. The library volunteers were warm and informative as they described how loaning books works and how to get set up with a library card (by the way, if you are registered to vote in New Paltz, you can get a library card for free).
“We’ve been here for quite a few years now, probably two or three,” said Elting Memorial Library Director John Giralco. “It’s a great little festival.” Giralco also mentioned that in the past he took photographs for The New Paltz Oracle.
One of Taste of New Paltz’s premier t-shirt sponsors was Naccarato Insurance. They have played a key role in pulling off the event for six years, according to Executive Administrative Assistant Robyn Finch. She has been volunteering for the past three years at the multi-table booth for the insurance company. Along with free bags, metal straws and sunglasses, Nacarrato was selling pet bowls for a $5 donation. The money would benefit the Saugerties Animal Shelter and another local adoption agency in the Hudson Valley.
“I think what makes it so special is giving back to the community. We give away snow cones and treats to show the community that we care,” Finch said.
There was also a designated Health and Wellness area for local businesses looking to improve the lives of residents. One of those vendors, Aware Body Wellness, offered free 10 minute reflexology massages and essential oil samples.
Some other Wellness vendors included Access Physical Therapy, Golden Light Acupuncture, High Falls Hemp and Stone Wave Yoga, to name a few.
A new (and welcome) addition to Taste of New Paltz was the Lakeside Lick’s Cruisers car show. At around noon, there were already 55 cars signed up, with all proceeds from the show going directly to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
“It’s been a beautiful day so far, some lovely cars that we haven’t seen before,” said Co-Chair for the Cruisers, Melissa Space. “The gentlemen with the Hummers came in and that was awesome to see, very patriotic.”
The New Paltz Chamber of Commerce holds this event and many others throughout the year. According to Administrative Assistant Erin Stewart, what keeps the event running is the sense of community it provides to all of the visitors.
“The 30th annual Taste of New Paltz is next year, and we are so excited,” Stewart said. “It’s definitely going to be something special, so stay tuned!”
You heard her, folks. For more information, feel free to contact New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce at 845-255-0243 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.