Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Hot pumpkin lattes, colorful falling leaves, delicious cinnamon smells, cozy lit fires, warm comfy sweaters and the list goes on. I love it all! But one of my favorite fall pastimes is the annual Barn Festival.
The Remsen Barn Festival is an arts and craft festival in small town Remsen, NY. During the last full weekend of September, about 250 vendors line main street, bringing in thousands of people from all over the country. For a small town of 1,915 people, this is a big deal.
And Remsen is my hometown.
Let me give you a little background. I was born and raised in small town country; my parents also grew up and graduated from Remsen. I graduated with the same kids I started kindergarten with, so we knew each other well. Some people might think this is a positive, but I often felt suffocated by the smallness. Everyone knew your business and gossip spread like wildfire. You couldn’t get away with anything.
However, the Barn Festival was one aspect of my country heritage that made me proud to be a Remsonian.
In high school I would spend my entire weekend at Barn Festival. I would work the French club booth, the band booth and my class booth (Shout out to the class of 1999). When I wasn’t helping out at the booths, I would walk around socializing with friends. I was very involved in the community then. It was sort of a requirement.
In college, I would travel from SUNY Potsdam with my new college friends for Barn Festival weekend. My mom would make homemade applesauce, zucchini bread and a crock pot full of warm chowder. After making our way through the festival, my friends and I would all go back to my parents for some amazing home cooking.
As an adult, I still go to Barn Festival with friends and family and my mom still has people over afterwards for a fall meal.
It is tradition. It is home.
This year, Jess and I went down with my mom and aunt Carolyn. We got there early to beat the crowd. We walked the streets, stopping in to visit the many vendors. There are local and visiting artisans, farmers and musicians, showing off their many talents. I still see many people I know and get to visit booths of some of the people with whom I graduated high school. It is the one time a year to reconnect.
Over the years, Remsen has undergone some changes. There is a lot of pride in the Welsh community, and residents are always working towards further development.
Places to visit in Remsen include:
The Remsen Country Bakery (this has been here forever!)
The Red Door
The Red Door is a really cool thrift shop with a lot of unique antiques. It changed faces many times. It started as a general store; at one time when I was in high school it was a video store. In recent years, the building sat vacant, so its nice to see it come back to life.
The Remsen Cultural Arts Center
In the last few years, this church was renovated into a cultural arts center where members put on talent shows and show art to the community.
The Soda Fountain
Established after I graduated high school, the Soda Fountain is a 50’s themed restaurant that brings a lot of visitors to Remsen.
The Remsen Depot
This is part of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. You can take the train from Utica to Remsen for a visit or continue to Thendara in Old Forge. There are many events hosted at the depot including but not limited to the annual corn maze.
The truth is that Remsen is a small town with a lot of heart. Generations upon generations grow up in Remsen, which makes it unique.
I may be a city girl at heart, but my roots are in Remsen.