Cauliflower Festival is Sept. 23!

The Fourteenth Annual Margaretville Cauliflower Festival will be held rain or shine Saturday, Sept. 23 from 10 to 4 in the Village Park, Margaretville.

This free festival, sponsored by the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce, is focused on the agricultural heritage of the region, once known for its outstanding cauliflower.  The festival is a Catskill Mountain Scenic Byway annual event.

Callie, the Cauliflower Spirit, will again appear in the tractor parade, which rolls out of the Margaretville Central School parking lot at 11:30 a.m., headed for the festival grounds. Do you have a tractor you’d like to show off, new or old? Call Lauren Davis, 845-586-4661 to register and meet at the school at 11.

New this year will be two events for foodies.

A Cauliflower Cookoff will be sponsored by Home Goods of Margaretville on the morning of the festival. Contact Jessica Olenych, 845-586-4177 for details.

The Catskills Folk Connection will have a booth under the pavilion focused on “Catskills Foodways from Farm, Field and Forest.”  Traditional family dishes will be showcased in “pop-up” presentations that will include cauliflower and/or cabbage, jams and jellies, cheese and milk-based desserts such as custard and bread pudding. Forest products like pickled leeks and wild horseradish will also be highlighted.

With your appetite whetted, peruse the food vendors who will serve everything from pulled pork to lamb burgers and of course lots of dishes featuring cauliflower, including soup, pizza and empanadas.

Mike Herman and Jason Starr, perennial crowd favorites, will return with their distinctive musical styles – Mike’s a blues man, Jason’s a folk musician — and they will perform alternate sets on the hour from Noon until 3:30 p.m.

Children will enjoy games like a cauliflower bean bag toss, crafts assisted by MCS art students, Woodchuck Hollow’s petting zoo and pony rides, a dress-up station at the History Tent and other fun activities.

The Historical Society of the Town of Middletown will display photos of cars, trucks and tractors from back in the day to complement the Catskill Conquest Pilot Rally whose participants will be stopping at the festival. There will also be a cauliflower history exhibit, and a vintage wooden barn, believed built as a toy by Francis Ruff of New Kingston. A sales table of glassware, home decor and other items will beckon bargain hunters.

The artisan’s tent will feature pottery, jewelry, sewn goods, knit items, hand-made dolls, wood bowls, art prints and cards, outdoor driftwood furniture and more.

Pure Catskills members will sell fresh produce and local products like maple syrup, jams, cheese and soaps. Union Grove and Kymar Distilleries will sell their specialty beverages.

The festival is supported by Freshtown; WIOX Community Radio; HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley; Directive, Inc.; the Watershed Agricultural Council and Pure Catskills.

For regular updates on the festival, visit www.facebook.com/margaretville