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Narrowsburg
celebrates RiverFest

TRR photo by Tom Kane
Auctioneer Pamela Moore-Epstein takes bids while Joe Freda displays the poster art. (Click for larger image)

By TOM KANE

NARROWSBURG — They came from the four points of the compass. They flowed along New York Routes 97 and 52 and along Pennsylvania Route 652 leading to this little river town on the Big Eddy. They came across the bridge to Pennsylvania in a steady stream, parking wherever they could.

The crowds came to celebrate the arts, the music and the Delaware River at Narrowsburg’s 11th annual RiverFest.

Once they got there, they browsed through 32 artisan’s booths including Narrowsburg resident Hank Schneider’s vases, Toledo photographer Marty Reichenthal’s award-winning photographs and North Branch resident Karen Guisti’s oyster sculpture. They listened to the music of the Louis Langdon’s Trio and the Carl Deitz’s Trio. They inspected Art Peck’s latest sailboat, watched fly fishermen from Trout Unlimited tying flies, ate popcorn and hot dogs at The River Reporter and learned about protecting the Delaware River watershed.

The central event of the day was the 1:00 p.m. auction of wonderfully varied festival posters, donated by local artists to Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA), which sponsors of the gala with the Narrowsburg Chamber of Commerce. This year, the posters brought $9,123 to support the DVAA Gallery Program, down from last year’s high of $12,090.

The crowd was entertained by costumed Eldred and Monticello High School students on stilts, part of the Highland Lake experimental theater company, North American Cultural Laboratory (NaCl).

Michele Costa, a New York City resident with a weekend home here, praised the festival but was worried. “I’m afraid that this place will become the “in-place” and people will start moving here,” he said.

Last week, an article appeared in the NYC prestigious magazine “W” that said, “Forget about the overcrowded and overrated Hamptons. The place to go for the weekend is Sullivan County in the Catskills.”

Not everybody agreed with Costa.

“That kind of publicity could be a great boon for the area,” said Supreme Court Judge Anthony Kane, whose wife Nancy is DVAA board president and DVAA’s RiverFest chair.

Florence Telesky of Monticello said it would be great if Sullivan County could return to the way it used to be. “I think the county is coming back,” she said. “That kind of publicity is great for the economy here.”

A couple from Setauket, Long Island, in the area while visiting their daughter attending summer camp in Milford, PA, saw an ad for the festival in the bed and breakfast where they stayed. “We’ll definitely return here,” said Martha Luft.

“We’ve been waiting,” said Adele Vogel of Sackett Lake and Huntington, Long Island. “It’s a long time in coming but I think things are beginning to happen around here—and this festival is one of those things.”

“We used to go to the Hamptons and we don’t go there anymore because it’s too crowded and noisy and now the crowds are coming here,” said Darren Wiseman of Manhattan. “I hope it doesn’t happen too fast.”

“As long as we stay focused on what makes Main Streets and small towns work now—and the artist’s place in all that—we can maintain our beautiful environment and realize economic development at the same time,” said Elaine Giguere, DVAA Executive Director.

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