ELLENVILLE, NY — Inspired by the fabled Borscht Belt era, when millions of urban dwellers relocated en masse each summer to the sprawling resorts of the Catskill Mountains, the Borscht Belt …
ELLENVILLE, NY — Inspired by the fabled Borscht Belt era, when millions of urban dwellers relocated en masse each summer to the sprawling resorts of the Catskill Mountains, the Borscht Belt Fest will debut on July 29 with food, comedy, live music and scores of other events that will take over much of downtown Ellenville.
The street festival and most live performances will take place on Saturday, July 29, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., but more events will be on offer during the weekend.
Just two examples from Saturday’s events: Sullivan County’s own Allen Frishman will take the stage for “The Plumber Always Flushes Twice: Tales (and Jokes) from a Catskills Plumber” at 10:30 a.m. at the Market Street Studios.
Monticello native and musician Patti Greco Sunshine performs at 2:30 p.m. in Liberty Square. She made her debut at the Pines Hotel at the age of 10 in the Mal Z Madness show and has performed in the Catskills ever since.
Headlined by a Borscht Belt outpost of Greenwich Village’s legendary Comedy Cellar, the festival will include five back-to-back comedy shows that pay homage to the region’s comedic legacy. There’s a family-friendly line-up of classic comedians, a show made up entirely of immigrant comics and more.
The Borscht Belt Fest will host art shows, film screenings and educational programming.
If you get hungry or want to shop, the event will feature local artisans, nostalgic merchandise and plenty to eat, including interpretations of Jewish classics.
Local and regional restaurants, delis, and food trucks will offer a range of culinary classics and contemporary twists.
“Dirty Dancing,” anyone? (Yes, organizers said; there’s a Saturday-night outdoor screening.)
Later, take in “Weeding Out the Stoned,” a dalliance that features a group of comics who challenge the audience to suss out who among them is not high.
The Catskills Borscht Belt Museum kicked off its inaugural season with a pop-up exhibit at the Ellenville bank building it recently acquired.
That exhibition, titled “Vacationland! Catskills Resort Culture 1900-1980,” will be open through early September.
Art lovers will find plenty to see on Saturday.
The museum is curating several satellite exhibitions for the festival, including a retrospective of the cartoonist Drew Friedman (known for the book “Old Jewish Comedians”) and a show featuring the work of Borscht Belt figure Morris Katz.
“Morris Katz: America’s ‘King of Schlock Art,’” is the first exhibition of Katz’ work since his death in 2010. It seeks to establish the painter’s standing as an overlooked outsider artist and a quintessentially American cultural phenomenon.
Artist Elise Pittelman pays homage to “Mahjong, Herring and Mirth,” a painter’s look at the vanished culture of the time.
Check out the babka bake-off, the street artists and musicians, including a marching Klezmer band, a Simon Sez champion and a classic tummler—the zany Borscht Belt entertainer who kept hotel guests amused day and night.
The museum is located at 90 Canal St. Ellenville is located just 90 minutes from Times Square.
Most events are free, but tickets are required for the comedy shows, talks and workshops. Proceeds will support the nonprofit Catskills Borscht Belt Museum.
Story contributed by the Borscht Belt Museum. Learn more at www.borschtbeltfest.org.
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