Local talent will be on display Saturday at the third annual Schoharie River Day festival at the Schoharie River Center in Burtonville.
The daylong festival is a celebration of the community and the history surrounding the Schoharie Creek watershed, according to John McKeeby, executive director of the River Center.
And it is literally a daylong festival. Festivities begin with a pancake breakfast at 9 a.m. featuring locally produced maple syrup and end with performances by local musicians at 4 p.m.
A 14-mile bike ride through the town of Charleston will begin at 10 a.m., and McKeeby said the flat, downhill ride past the town’s various historic markers is a great way to see the town from the saddle of bike, in celebration of the town’s 220-year history.
Riders can stop to explore the sites or follow the path all the way to the River Day celebration, where 25 local vendors will showcase and sell their wares, ranging from food products to pottery, jewelry and other handicrafts.
The festival will also feature live demonstrations ranging from blacksmithing and timber-frame building to kayaking, and visitors can try their hands at fly fishing, help assemble a traditional Appalachian lean-to or bang on hot metal with old-fashioned tools and techniques specific to the area.
“We want to invite the outlying community to come out to the center, to learn about the Schoharie watershed, to see the vendors, exhibitors and musicians and to celebrate local talent,” McKeeby said.
Performances by folk musicians Kim and Reggie Harris of Middleburgh, local Latin music legend Alex Torres and friends, old-time string music with the Bentwood Rockers and storyteller Joe Doolittle will begin at noon.
The event also serves as a fundraiser for the center at 2025 Burtonsville Road, a nonprofit organization that provides programs and environmental initiatives for area middle-school and high-school students.
Board President Doug Fortman said he got involved with the center because of his children, who became active members of the Environmental Study Team. Fortman said the center immerses students from Schoharie County and surrounding school districts in the area’s natural beauty. The team has learned how to monitor water quality and often competes in regional science competitions.
The center also offers hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing tours and makes its own maple syrup in its sugar shack.