The Taste of New Paltz brought in a diverse amount of food options from all over the Hudson Valley at its 27th annual event earlier this month.
The end of summer would be incomplete without the fun festivities that the Taste of New Paltz provides every year, marking its 27th year as part of the community on Sunday, Sept. 17 at Ulster County Fairgrounds.
From a petting zoo and live bands to scrumptious tacos and zesty Caribbean food, this year’s Taste of New Paltz might have been its most diverse yet, according to New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce Director Kathy Combs.
“The festival brings a little of everything from New Paltz, it is definitely held to boost tourism but it’s also an opportunity to try new things,” Combs said.
The family friendly event had over 200 vendors and over 5,000 people in attendance. Among one of the most popular vendors was El Danzante on Wheels, a Mexican food truck based in Kingston.
This was El Danzante’s first year at Taste of New Paltz and their long line proved that the business was definitely benefiting from joining the event. Elena, an employee of the small business and resident of New York for over 20 years, expressed her gratitude for the event.
“This town is lovely and respectful,” she said as another worker behind her was dicing mangos at rapid speed. “Everything is selling well. Our horchata and lemonade are all made with fresh fruit and the customers can see that. I also enjoy seeing all the families enjoying our products.”
Introduced in 1990, Taste of New Paltz started as a simple food festival where local vendors would gather to share their food with residents and tourists. Over the past few years, other areas in the Hudson Valley started having their own food festivals and in order to stay relevant, the Taste of New Paltz started incorporating other aspects such as live music, farm animals, beer, wine and spirits, Combs explained.
Noah Gomez, a second-year student at SUNY New Paltz, exclaimed his fondness for his steak burrito.
“It’s so tasty, it honestly makes me sad that I have to go back to Hasbrouck burritos, and the drinks are really refreshing too.”
Another addition to this years’ festival was Blue Chip Products, a sock and organic skin care market owned by Jillian Aronowitz. The business came simply because they saw a sign advertising The Taste of New Paltz and saw a great business opportunity.
“I think our best selling pair would either be our cat socks or guitar socks,” Aronowitz said. “Business has been great so far, we’re having a good time.”
It was apparent then that the Taste of New Paltz is “not just a food festival, it really is about building business, promoting tourism and adapting to our time,” Combs explained.
Combs also mentioned that the event has evolved over the years with the age of social media and online promoting. When the festival started in the ‘90s, the only advertising methods would be signs and local papers. Now, the event has its own website, a social media presence, and drone photography, which was new to event this year.
“Although times have changed, I think we’ve stayed true to what the event is as well as becoming flexible as the times have changed,” Combs said.