Margaretville gearing up for Cauliflower Fest
Margaretville — Pickin’, singin’ and dancin’ will make the East Branch Valley ring on Saturday, Sept. 29 when the home-grown Catskill Mountain Boys, and the Blue Ribbon Cloggers are featured at the Ninth Annual Margaretville Cauliflower Festival.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the village park behind Freshtown.
The Catskill Mountain Boys (also known as Aurora North) is a bluegrass band that includes Todd Pascarella, John VanBenschoten, Mike Herman and Henry Hermann.
Todd, who plays bass, performed for several years with a rock band known as “The Lost Beat Heroes” and later as “Cold Memory.” After moving to the Catskills from Long Island in 2001, Todd found his way to the basement of John VanBenschoten’s house , where the band “Aurora North” was conceived late one December night.
John VanBenschoten started playing guitar and banjo at age 17. He has played in bluegrass duets from Prescott, Arizona to Sitka, Alaska and has studied the banjo with legendary banjo picker William Bradford Keith - known to many as ‘Bill Keith.’ He sings lead vocals with the band.
Adding harmony is Henry Hermann, who picked up a violin at the age of six, but did not start fiddlin’ until age 22 when he joined the “Almost Heaven Band” in Miami. He moved back to the Catskills in 1993, hooked up with the “Blue Savannah Band,” and played and recorded with several other bands doing everything from hard rock to Country and Celtic. He teamed with Debra Osherow for a CD titled “FiddleHawk.”
Mike Herman spent 18 years playing, teaching, touring and recording the blues. He and partner John Gillespie comprised the regional acoustic blues duo “The Hell Hounds,” which toured the East Coast and Mid-West, playing festivals with blues greats such as Hubert Sumlin, Roy Bookbinder, Bob Margolin, John Hammond, and others. They recorded three CDs. Today, Mike performs bluegrass with The Boys, and blues as a solo singer/songwriter.
The Milford-based Blue Ribbon Cloggers have performed state wide and once even opened for country star Randy Travis in Cooperstown. The nine women, and their dancing dog Job, perform their infectious brand of country clogging to all kinds of music, from Celtic to Oldies, polkas and modern favorites.
“If you go by Milford some Tuesday evening you might hear what sounds like machine-gun fire or a chorus of typewriters, but it’s only us, rehearsing for the next show!,” explains group Director Ellie Sosnowski, whose husband Len serves as MC.
In between music and dance sets, which will run throughout the afternoon, The Cauliflower Festival offers art, history, food, kids’ activities and exhibits — a wonderful way to enjoy an autumn day, courtesy of the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce.