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Baking up a bagel bash; go big or go home

Jeff Siegel, event and marketing chair of the Monticello Business Association, serves up the organization’s vision of a three-day bagel festival to the Sullivan County Legislature.

By Fritz Mayer
October 24, 2012

There will be movie stars, sports celebrities, sculptures made specifically for the weekend, the biggest tie-dyed bagel ever made and the longest bagel chain ever assembled.

That was the word from Jeff Siegel, event and marketing chairman of the Monticello Business Association, who addressed the Sullivan County Legislature on October 18 and laid out plans for a three-day Bagel Festival to be held in Monticello next August.

He requested that the legislature pass a resolution claiming that Monticello is the Bagel Capital: “not the bagel capital of the state or the world, just the Bagel Capital.” He will request the same of officials of the Village of Monticello, and the Town of Thompson. Additionally, an associate is creating a corporation called Bagel Capital.

Siegel said all this is necessary because he will ask Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Senator John Bonacic for a bagel capital proclamation from Albany in January, and “I need to give them the bullets for the shotgun, so that when they’re up in Albany and somebody squawks that we’re not the bagel capital, it will be pretty hard for them to dispute that we already have a New York state corporation that says we are, and that we have three proclamations from our local governments that say we are.”

The association has tried to include as many members of the community as possible in the plan. On Sunday of the big weekend, there will be a “bagel brunch smorgasbord” where local farmers can offer up bagels and eggs, or bagels and ham, or bagels and whatever.

Siegel said the promotion will be national as well as local and he is seeking sponsorships. For example, he said, “What coffee goes best with a bagel? The one that sponsors the bagel festival.”

To top it off, Siegel said there is an authentic connection to bagel history, as the first bagel-making machine was built in nearby Hurleyville.

The lawmakers were quite receptive to the proposition. Legislator Kathy LaBuda said, “My only request is, if you let the legislators drive down Broadway in a convertible, I want to be seated next to a movie star.”

The lawmakers promised to pass the requested resolution by the end of the year.