North Salem Arts & Food Festival to take place Saturday, October 15 in Croton Falls


On Saturday, October 15, Croton Falls will be abuzz with creative energy when the 2nd annual North Salem Arts & Food Festival takes over the hamlet. The event will feature hyperlocal artisans and makers, food purveyors, community organizations, kids activities and artist studio open houses, all dedicated to celebrating the thriving arts culture in our community.

“We really worked to bring together hyperlocal artisans and makers who could truly represent the local community,” said Natalie Gehrels, who is leading planning for the event and who owns Folkways Wines in Croton Falls along with her husband Jonas Andersen. “We really want people to feel excited about where they live and to celebrate how beautifully fantastic the area is,” Gehrels said.

Gehrels is working with Sue-Jean Kang and Alyson Baker to bring the festival to life. Kang is a Connecticut-based publicist and the organizer of Fine Day Fair, a series of outdoor markets. Alyson Baker is the director of the River Valley Arts Collective, a Hudson Valley-based organization for creatives. Baker was the former executive director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

“We’ll have makers who work in glass, ceramics and wood and then the food purveyors will be bringing the best of what they make to showcase. So you’ll have all of the best things of the area in one place,” Gehrels said.

The term ‘makers’ will take on a broader definition this year as the event will have a significant focus on food and will feature local farmers, chefs and food purveyors.

“The food component was highlighted in both the feedback we received from last year’s event–people wanted more food–and also because we realized that the area really does have food to offer,” Gehrels said, citing the local farmland and orchards in our area as well as the individuals working with food. “Certainly we want to celebrate the history of the area and try to bring forward some of the storytelling around the farming and the orchards by bringing in Salinger’s Orchard and Hardscrabble Cider,” Gehrels said.

Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

North Salem newcomers Andrea Calstier and Elena Oliver will make their debut to festival attendees. The French husband-and-wife duo are the restaurateurs behind La Bastide by Andrea Calstier and Cenadou, the soon-to-be-opened French restaurant and bistro at the site of the former Vox restaurant in North Salem. “That will be exciting for people to learn a bit about their restaurant and what that will bring to the community,” Gehrels said.

In addition to artists and makers, this year’s festival will feature local organizations such as SPACE on Ryder Farm and the North Salem Open Land Foundation. Gehrels hopes that the presence of these local groups will facilitate learning and dialogue between the organizations and community members. “This will allow community members to really have conversations with these organizations to understand what they’re doing on the ground, how they can get involved and potentially give back as well,” Gehrels said.

For young ones, Railyard Arts Studio will sponsor activities designed to help kids tap into their creative sides. Throughout the day, there will be live music, food, drinks and small bites and spaces for people to gather.

Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

While most of the day’s activities will take place at Gazebo Park in Croton Falls, Gehrels noted that the entire hamlet will become an extension of the festival. An open studio component, in which artists will open their doors for community members to see where and how they work, will include a special viewing of painter Tom Christopher’s studio space inside the historic Lift Trucks building. The studio space for the North Salem Post and HudValley Photo will also be open to the public the day of the festival. “I think this will be really fantastic for people to gain insight into what it’s like to be a working artist, writer or photographer, and for them to see those spaces intimately,” Gehrels said.

For lifelong residents and newcomers alike, the North Salem Arts & Food Festival is shaping up to deliver both surprising discoveries and delightful experiences.

“There's a lot of history to really treasure in North Salem and there are a lot of people who care really deeply about that and are passionate about preserving that,” Gehrels said. “I also see a growing community of young folks and parents with small children who are really yearning for connection and to have a place where they can convene, especially after some very challenging years that we all experienced. My hope is that this event can really be a bridge to connect all of these community members so that we can just celebrate very simply where we live and get to know our neighbors.”

The North Salem Arts & Festival will take place Saturday, October 15 at Gazebo Park (610 Rt 22) in Croton Falls from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. For updates, follow the event's Instagram page.

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