Let’s face it: the weather outside is frightful. Arctic blasts and powerful gusts have combined to create record-breaking temps across the country and right here in the Upper Delaware River region. To add insult to injury, I live on top of a mountain, exposed to the elements, teetering on a precipice, constantly flirting with the kinds of challenges that life in a trailer (that’s right) provides. That said, there is plenty of action in the mountains. When the snow flies, it blankets the hills and valleys in stunning detail, creating photo-ops worthy of a postcard, pretty as a picture and (for the armchair observer) warm and dry. For visitors, this is swell. For those of us who call the Catskills home? Just another day in paradise.
While the schools have seen an increase in snow days and delays, the majority of us workaday folks brave the frigid temps, shovel our way to the garage and hit the road with care, leaving some wiggle room in our schedules for the occasional slip and slide. Like many of you, I have missed out on a few events due to circumstances beyond my control, but wake each morning determined to celebrate the world of arts and leisure provided to us throughout the area. Running out of words to describe the bitter cold, I decided to make my way to Main Street in Liberty, NY to check out the newest art installation happening behind the Green Door (www.greendoormag.com ). In conjunction with the Outsider’s Studio Collective (www.outsidersstudio.com ), Akira and Ellie Ohiso opened their doors and bared their walls to allow curators Andrea Brown and Elizabeth Ennis to invite scores of artists to participate in their latest pop-up gallery show, titled “Crowd.” The exhibition, based on the theme “People and their Pets,” showcases paintings, sculpture, photographs and multi-media expressions of that concept and there are some (IMHO) amazing works on display through March 1. During the opening reception, Brown was overheard to say that “In the dead of winter, one does not often encounter a crowd; we were looking to create that atmosphere with this show.” With over 150 people (and one pet) in attendance, it was more of a mob scene, with plenty of action, but now that the crowd has died down, one can peruse the gallery space at leisure and stand back to admire.
Last Saturday brought more snow, and while slightly daunting, it did not deter me as I headed out for Monticello’s annual “Family Fun Day” now in its eighth year. By virtue of the place being a ski, sled and snowboard destination (www.holidaymtn.com ), I was pretty sure the wintry precipitation was an added bonus, so I bundled up, grabbed the camera and skidded down Route 17 in search of the fabled Cardboard Sled Race held by the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and third annual “Winter Wing Fling,” sponsored by Thunder 102 and YEL! (Young Emerging Leaders) under the auspices of the chamber. I jumped on-air for a few minutes with “Ciliberto and Friends” (www.thunder102.com ) to explain why Dharma (the wonder dog) was nowhere to be seen. With plans to photograph the race, which features sleds made entirely of cardboard and tape, it was far too cold to expose her to the weather, so she got a (much deserved) day off.
The action was off the chain as teams competed in categories like most creative, fastest and most destroyed, and while the wind whipped and the constant flakes swirled, I snapped away before my camera batteries (and those of some others) froze up, sending me trudging back to the chalet, to join a team of “celebrity” judges for the “Wing Fling,” with restaurants competing for bragging rights as King of the Wing. Some were scrumptious, while others strayed, but the sold-out crowd clamored for more while the sled race winners were announced. With proceeds of the event going to the Sullivan County food pantries, everyone was a winner in this worthy event, but Dutch’s Tavern in Rock Hill was happy to don the (judges’ favorite) crown, while the People’s Choice went to Holiday Mountain itself. Sufficiently thawed, I managed to capture some moments and have posted pics at www.facebook.com/riverreporter  for readers to like, tag and share with your friends.
Arriving home to a flood in the kitchen (more frozen pipes) and no power (don’t ask) provided plenty of stimulation to propel me into action and the beginning of another adventure-filled week here at Green Acres. I missed a (so I hear) fabulous show in Honesdale, PA (www.thecooperageproject.org ) and one in Hawley (www.silkmillharmony.com ) too, so apologies to the Jill’s are in order. Mea culpa, ladies. Weather permitting, I’ll see you all soon.