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
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
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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