Sharon Springs Chamber takes over May 25-26 Garden Party
By Patsy Nicosia
How long does it take to put together a two-day festival?
The Sharon Springs Chamber of Commerce is about to find out.
After learning that Beekman 1802 won’t be sponsoring this year’s Garden Party, the Chamber held an emergency meeting last Tuesday to begin putting together the May 25-26 event.
Initially, the thought was that the Garden Party, which can draw crowds of 6,000, would just be Saturday.
But after hearing from merchants and organizers of past festivals, the Chamber agreed to stick with the two-day format.
“It’s too big, too important to not do,” Chamber President Ron Ketelsen told about a dozen members and volunteers.
“But we just found out [that Beekman 1802 won’t be doing it] and there’s a lot to do. We encourage ideas and involvement from everyone.”
How many days to make the festival under the shortened-timetable took up most of Tuesday’s conversation.
Typically, merchants said, they make more, smaller sales on the Saturday of a two-day event, and fewer—but larger--sales on Sunday, when the crowds are smaller and it’s easier for shoppers to browse their stores.
Margi Neary, who’s been involved in the Garden Party from the start, also pointed out the weather is unpredictable, another reason to go with two days.
There was also discussion on parking, running shuttle busses, and vendors, and finding someone to coordinate the popular Etsay Village.
Mr. Ketelsen said the Kinderhook Bank and FAM have already stepped up, offering to help sponsor the event; others worth approaching include other banks, Stewart’s and Wal-Mart Distribution, who’ve been supportive of non-profit organizations like the Chamber in the past.
“I was encouraged that we didn’t even have to ask people,” Mr. Ketelsen said. “They came to us.”
Vendor fees also help pay for festival costs and the Chamber also contributes, he said.
The Garden Party is a juried event and vendor applications can be found online at Sharonsprings.com/events.
In addition to vendors, Garden Party plans include landscaping displays and presentations by SUNY Cobleskill, Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, and Landis Arboretum; a children’s petting zoo, horse-drawn carriage rides, and music and other entertainment.
More information on the event is also available at Sharonsprings.com/events or by calling the Sharon Springs Chamber at (518) 860-5513.