gardenFest is big hit in Margaretville

By Pauline Liu
It was the first Main Street celebration to blossom in Margaretville since the village was devastated by Tropical Storm Irene last August. The budding event, known as gardenFest, was held Saturday. It was a community effort spearheaded by the merchants group, shopMargaretville.

As sunshine broke through the overcast skies, hundreds of smiling visitors strolled through the streets, where floodwaters raged only seven months earlier. 

On the rebound
The flood occurred on August 28, just one-day after the Margaretville Street Fair was held on Main Street. This time around, Mother Nature gave her full cooperation and held off the rain until the festival was ready to end, which made attendees very happy.

“I’m delighted to see all of the traffic, because it’s what the village really needs,” said Donna Hollon and New Kingston, as she and her miniature poodle, Peppermint, strolled down Main Street.
“I think it’s a great way to bring everyone back to the village after the flood,” said Rebecca Cortese of Denver, who had her four-year-old twins, Kathryn and Isabelle in tow.

According to Marc Levenshus of Foothills, who was among the organizers, 64 vendors set up booths or displays along Main Street.  Among the vendors were Green Thumb of Hamden, which offered a large selection of flowering plants.

Growing history
“We grow 85 percent of our plants from seed, which is how we can keep our costs down,” said Aimee Mignier, whose parents started the business.

Stacey Scudder of Fair Street Gardens in Margaretville was doing a brisk business with her flats of spring flowers and hanging plants. Tina Harp of Mountain Yarns spun yarns, while her friend Koula Perdios sold plants.

“This is a bigger turnout than I expected,” said Harp. 

If you needed landscaping for those plants, Mel Bellar of Zone4 Landscapes in Andes, was on hand to offer advice.  If you needed storage for your garden supplies or a gazebo for your backyard, Dan Forte of Brad’s Barns in Kingston, was ready to sell it to you.

There was also plenty of food available. Madalyn Warren of the Andes Sprouts Society offered fresh vegetables from the society’s greenhouse, while her sister, Jen, ran the petting zoo, which included baby goats from the farm. It proved to be a big hit with children. Another event popular for children was the free face painting by Roxbury resident Karina Walker of Karina Von Marvelina. 

Working together
Plans for this first-time event germinated quickly. Levenshus said he was impressed by the well-organized and creative displays at the festival. 

Jill Cline, director of the Catskill Mountain Artisans’ Guild located on Main Street, thought the event was a great success.

“It gave us a jump on the festival season, which normally starts next month,” she said with great enthusiasm. “So we started a month early.”

The only drawback according to some vendors, was that some visitors were reluctant to buy outdoor plants and supplies because of the snow and rain forecasted for this week.