Hilltowns to host weekend events

ALBANY COUNTY — This weekend, the Hilltowns and surrounding areas will be the site of various events and activities, from exhibits on prohibition to an eight-mile run.

Several activities are features of the New York State Path Through History Weekend, which occurs twice a year and showcases historic events in the state.

Farming in Knox

One of these events will occur at the Saddlemire Homestead Museum in Knox, which will have exhibits and demonstrations on farming spanning the past, present, and future. There will be exhibits on antique farm tools as well as speakers such as Ken Saddlemire on modern farming and Berne-Knox-Westerlo agricultural students speaking on the future of farming.

The museum will be open from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Prohibition in Westerlo

The Westerlo Heritage Museum will have an exhibit titled “Popping the Cork on Prohibition” that will feature antique farm equipment as well as information about prohibition in the town.

At the June 6 town board meeting, town historian Dennis Fancher offered what he described as a preview of the exhibit, listing facts about the town centuries ago. For example, Westerlo has 87 fewer people than it did in 1820. That same year, an acre of land cost $10. In 1820, a man named Asa Culver produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey, and in 1846 there were two taverns.

“Which may not be entirely true,” he said, of the taverns.

“It’s not,” said his wife, Sue Fancher, who is a member of the town’s historical society and is researching prohibition. “There’s a lot more taverns.”

The museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The event is featured as part of the New York State Path Through History Weekend.

Strawberry Festival

A strawberry festival will be hosted by the Patroon Land Farm in Knox this Saturday at the Altamont Fairgrounds from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to Laura Martin, the assistant farm manager.

According to Martin, the funds will go toward installing bathrooms at the farm, which currently uses port-a-potties. The costs, which includes about $25,000 to install a septic system, will run about $30,000 to $40,000. Given the cost, she doesn’t expect funds from this festival alone to cover the expenses, but hopes to see money raised for it after a few years of hosting the festival.

The community-supported-agriculture farm — which, other than Martin and four other employees, uses volunteers — is run by the Regional Food Bank of New York. Two-thirds of the crops produced go to the food bank and the rest is sold to support the farm, said Martin. She said between 100,000 and 200,000 pounds of crops are produced each year.

The food bank will be paying for items like carnival ride equipment, and the event is also being sponsored by companies like ADG Development and Beech-Nut Nutrition Company, as well as the Knox town supervisor Vasilios Lefkaditis.

Tickets cost $8 and are free to those aged 12 and under. The event will feature carnival rides, pony rides, a hay maze, and face-painting, as well as offerings of beer, wine, and strawberry daiquiris and other strawberry-based treats.

The Grist Mill

The Grist Mill Museum in the town of Rensselaerville will be open from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, and is a feature of the New York State Path Through History Weekend.

The Rensselaerville Ramble

Rensselaerville will also be the host to several races on the trails of the E.N. Huyck Preserve. The Rensselaerville Ramble will include a two-mile, five-mile, and eight-mile run, which can be run individually or in teams. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and all races start at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Registration is $30. A 600-meter dash will be offered free of registration charge to children age 10 and younger that starts at 11 a.m. Proceeds will benefit the Rensselaerville Public Library and the preserve.

“The trails that we’re using are trails that people don’t normally use,” said Kim Graff, the Rensselaerville Public Library director.

This is the second annual Rensselaerville Ramble, said Graff, after library board member and trail runner Linda Styer suggested having a race on the trails in the E.N. Huyck Preserve in order to raise awareness about the preserve.

Following the races will be a Forest Festival at the preserve from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and an award ceremony at 11:30 a.m. There will also be an opportunity to swim for free at Lake Myosotis from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. The festival will include live music, beer tastings and local foods, and craft activities for children.


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