Thousands are expected to converge on Sharon Springs this weekend to get vegetables fresh from local farms, relish fine dining and bask in the country lifestyle that’s drawing eyes from all over the world.
Now in its fourth year, the Harvest Festival is growing into one of the busiest weekends the tiny Schoharie County village sees in the entire year.
Sharon Springs Farmers Market manager Kate Miller said she’s expecting that vendors will have honey and maple products, pies and fresh, warm bread along with cheeses and a variety of vegetables picked at the peak of freshness.
“We have some great local food producers,” said Miller, who said this weekend’s farmers market will include country-style entertainment.
Cow pie bingo, pumpkin painting for kids, a horseshoe toss and a watermelon seed-spitting contest should draw a few laughs.
“It’s going to be fun,” she said.
Locals can expect the village population to grow by several thousand as travelers make their way to Schoharie County to get a glimpse of the farm made famous by TV stars Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell.
The couple known as the Fabulous Beekman Boys after the title of their reality TV program will be inviting guests to their farm for half-hour tours.
“We get people from all around the world,” Kilmer-Purcell said, noting that the tours were sold out quickly.
The TV program, focusing on the couple’s journey from a New York City lifestyle to operating a farm and a country store, has drawn fans from as far as Australia and the Netherlands.
“We get a lot of visitors from the heartland of America, a lot of people who grew up in rural areas and miss it. They may live suburban or urban lives, but they miss their rural upbringing and they want to get back on the farm. They’re from all over,” Kilmer-Purcell said.
He said Friday night’s “Harvest Hop” will bring live music and a dance caller to the firehouse. People will dance and celebrate like the old days, when hops were a major cash crop in Schoharie County, he said.
The website for Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell’s country store, Beekman 1802, provides a list of a variety of events taking place Friday through Sunday — an expression of the pair’s goal to reinvigorate Sharon Springs.
“We’re just so happy to be able to shine a spotlight on this region, on the entire Mohawk Valley; we fell in love with it, and we were amazed people in the city weren’t aware of it,” Kilmer-Purcell said.
Reservations are still being accepted for an upscale dining experience at the historic American Hotel. Featuring all-local foods, the dinner is $150 per person; call 284-2105 for reservations.
This weekend will represent an opportunity for many local shops to find new customers, said Maureen Lodes, president of the Sharon Springs Chamber of Commerce and owner of the Cobbler & Co. outlet that features unique gifts, many of which are on sale during the event.
“It certainly is great for exposure; you can’t advertise enough to get that many people in one area,” she said.
Lodes organized a shuttle service to get around difficult parking — guests can park at the Sharon Springs school lot and buses will be traveling back and forth to Main Street Saturday and Sunday.
A full schedule of Sharon Springs Harvest Festival events can be found online at http://beekman1802.com and http://enjoysharonsprings.com.