Shandaken Day set for new site with many exciting attractions

By Jay Braman Jr.
The popular annual event known as Shandaken Day is set for this Saturday and promises to be better than ever.
This year the fun plays out in Big Indian Park alongside Route 28 in Big Indian, where all the attractions of previous incarnations of the celebration will be offered. But this year, according to organizers, Shandaken Day will take on a flavor more unique to Big Indian.
This year, the hamlets of Big Indian and Oliverea are being showcased. To kick things off a new 14-foot tall statue sculpted from a log in Big Indian will be unveiled at 10 a.m., the beginning of the event, in honor of “Winisook” the “Big Indian” of local lore. The statue will be placed as a welcoming figure along the Route 28 corridor. Also, Native American groups attending from throughout the Hudson Valley will open and close the event with special ceremonies. Those same groups will host folk song and lore of the valley and region all day.
Live music is planned for the entire day, featuring Rayla Suzan-Hart, Ben Rounds Band and the Earl Pardini Band.
“We also will continue our gamut of kids’ games including the ever-popular “Hay Bale Bonanza,” where the children can stack and re-stack the hay bales into whatever configuration they can dream up,” said Councilman Rob Stanley, a member of the Shandaken Day Committee. “Awards will be presented to the kids that participated in the day’s events.”
Pride of Shandaken awards will be given to Phoenicia resident Ruth Houska, well-known for her tireless volunteer efforts with the Phoenicia Methodist Church’s thrift store, and former Pine Hill resident Florence Hamling, a founder of the Pine Hill Community Center. Hamlet hero awards will be presented posthumously to Laura and Archie Aley. Jane and John Rossitz and Robert Kalb will receive Hamlet hero awards as well.
Entering the Big Indian Valley from Route 28, turning onto Route 47, Oliverea Road, the traveler is greeted on the left by Aley’s General Store. Still a place to gather around the old wood stove and hear colorful stories about the “good old days.” it is presently known as Morra’s Market. A journey through this scenic area affords many beautiful mountain views, as you pass Belleayre, Balsam, Eagle, Big Indian, Fir, Spruce, Hemlock and Panther mountains, finally reaching Slide Mountain, the highest peak in the Catskills at 4,204 feet above sea level. Big Indian offers a choice of hunting, fishing and hiking and boasts of numerous boarding houses, motels, cabins and restaurant.”
Shandaken Day will be held rain or shine and ends at 6 p.m.