BY ROBERT KNIGHT
ROCKLAND COUNTY TIMES
The fourth annual Rockland County Fall Festival will be held this year on Sunday, Oct. 23 from 12 noon – 4 p.m., again at the historic Vanderbilt-Budke-Traphagen estate on Germonds Road in West Nyack.
The event will be held rain or shine, and this year will help celebrate the Town of Clarkstown’s 225th anniversary since it split from the Town of Haverstraw in 1791.
It will also showcase the two historic homes on the former farmland site, the Vanderbilt-Budke House and the adjacent Traphagen House, which were built by early Dutch settlers in approximately 1728 and 1820, respectively. The Vanderbilt House is thought to be the oldest structure in Clarkstown, and second oldest in Rockland County. Vacant for about 75 years, it is now being restored by Clarkstown with assistance from state grants and hands-on work by volunteers from the Rockland chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
Tours of both houses will be given throughout the afternoon, and a discussion about the restoration of the Vanderbilt-Budke House will be led by historic restoration expert Tim Adriance.
Sponsor of the event is Heritage of West Nyack, a non-profit civic organization dedicated to the preservation of the historic hamlet of West Nyack. Co-sponsors are the Town of Clarkstown and the Historical Society of Rockland County, both of which will be present with displays and information.
The site is adjacent to the town’s large Germonds Park next door, where free parking is available. Festival goers can park there and walk on a sidewalk the short distance to the fair site, or avail themselves of a free shuttle ride between the two properties provided by Clarkstown’s Mini-Trans bus system.
Special events this year include free miniature golf at Germonds Park (pick up tickets at the raffle table at the fair), and a nature walk from 2-4 p.m. led by artist and naturalist Paul Tappenden identifying edible and medicinal native plants, starting from the Budke House.
A new feature this year will be demonstrations and presentations by Heard’s Brigade of New Jersey Militia, a Revolutionary war re-enactment group that will be holding an encampment at the site that weekend. Included will be an authentic 18th century military camp consisting of tents, cooking on open fires, militia drills, musket firing and marching, among other activities.
Blacksmith Jonathan Nedbor will have a complete working blacksmith shop set up on the grounds, as well as a large display of historic examples of hand forged tools and objects. Jonathan will be working at the anvil forging nails, chain and a few other items typical of the period.
Fairgoers will also be able to visit with Benjamin Franklin, portrayed by Jack Sherry. Meet with Dr. Franklin and learn about his life as an entrepreneur, printer, author, scientist, inventor statesman, ambassador and one of America’s founding fathers.
Stephanie and Dustin Hausner will lead story time for children this year, in authentic colonial costumes, at 1 p.m. and again at 2 p.m.
A demonstration of making wooden pens by turning them on a hand lathe will be led by members of the Hudson Valley Wood Turners, for ages 12 and up, with pre-registration appreciated by emailing [email protected] so they will bring sufficient supplies for all to participate.
Mayra Petrelli of the Metropolitan Chapter of the IOLI will lead a demonstration on making lace by hand in the north wing of the 1820 Traphagen House (the white wooden house near the site entrance).
Other activities that will be going on throughout the afternoon include:
· Music, raffles, food and craft demonstrations
· Horse drawn hayrides from 12:30 – 3:30 p.m.
· Pumpkin picking, decorating and painting
· A variety of children’s games and crafts including stencil art, writing with a quill pen and others designed to show what it was like to be a child in colonial times in Rockland
· Several food vendors and refreshments for purchase
Heritage of West Nyack says it is continually updating the schedule, and advises those interested in attending to check their website at www.HeritageofWestNyack.org or visit their Facebook page.