The New York State Fair is over, the kids are in school, and it’s time to gear up for the best the late-summer harvest has to offer. We are truly blessed in this agriculture-rich state to have so many different items grown right in our own back yard. And some clever planners have decided to celebrate the harvest with a cornucopia of festivals. Here is a roundup of what’s to come in the next few weeks.
Hop on Pop
In the next county over to the east, Hop Fest returns to Madison County with dinner at Ye Olde Landmark Tavern on Route 20 in Bouckville. Accompanying the five-course Paired Beer Dinner Sept. 16, 6 p.m., will be a variety of craft beers from Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, N.Y. Seating is limited for the dinner that costs $45, with reservations due by Friday, Sept. 9. As for the remainder of the weekend, head to the Madison County Historical
Society, 435 Main St., Oneida, on Saturday, Sept. 17, for beer sampling galore from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 in advance; $30 at the door. A food and beer pairing takes place from noon to 2 p.m. at the historical society; tickets cost $15 in advance, $20 at the door, only there are only 150 tickets available.
Purchase tickets for all three events online at mchs1900.org/hopfest. All proceeds benefit educational programming at the historical society.
You can also attend the festival on Sept. 17, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with free admission for those 21 and older. Activities include a hop exhibit, hop growing displays and the ever-popular crowning of the Hop King. For more information, visit the website or call 363-4136.
Ape for the Grape
If wine is more your thing, head over the Montezuma Winery for the Harvest Hoedown, Saturday, Sept. 17, from noon to 5 p.m. Enjoy barbecue, a farmers market of local seasonal produce, jams and jellies, maple products and, of course, all sorts of grapey grog. A children’s petting zoo and pumpkins for decorating will keep the kids occupied. Music from Miller’s Wheel (noon to 2:30 p.m.) and Barn Floor Groovers (2:30 to 5 p.m.) enhances the vino vibes.
Admission is free, with fees charged for food and drink. Montezuma Winery & Hidden Marsh Distillery is located at 2981 Auburn Road (corner of routes 89 and 5/20), Seneca Falls. Call 568-8190.
In fact, special events take place throughout September all along the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. On Saturday, Sept. 10, Hosmer Winery, 6999 Route 89, Ovid, holds Some Like it Hot, featuring spicy foods, spicy tunes and cool wines; Americana Vineyards, 4367 E. Covert Road, Interlaken, features Patriots’ Weekend; head to Swedish Hill Vineyard, 4565 Route 414, Romulus, and Goose Watch Winery, 5480 Route 89, Romulus, for their Fall Fever Days; and Thirsty Owl, 6861 Route 89, Ovid, for their ninth anniversary bash. The next day, Goose Watch Winery hosts a jazz festival.
The following weekend, head to Cobblestone Farm Winery, 5102 Route 89, Romulus, for its Glorious Grape Day on Sept. 17. Also on Saturday, Buttonwood Grove Winery, 5986 Route 89, Romulus, has an Early Fall Foliage Festival; Six Mile Creek Vineyard, 1551 Slaterville Road, Ithaca, hosts a Harvest Festival; and King Ferry Winery, 658 Lake Road, King Ferry, presents its Fall Arts Festival.
On Sunday, Sept. 18, try out Lucas Vineyards’ German Festival, 3862 County Road 150, Interlaken, while on Sept. 24, Bellwether Hard Cider, 9070 Route 89, Trumansburg, holds a Fabulous Fall Feast and Knapp Vineyards, 2770 County Road 128, Romulus, invites you to its Fall Fiesta. For details on all these events, visit cayugawinetrail.com.
Many folks’ favorite harvest treat this time of year is a fresh-from-the-garden, deep red tomato. Our window to enjoy these fruits of the earth is only about a month long; then we are resigned to the pale pink, hard imitators sold throughout the other 11 months.
Auburn’s Tomatofest has been celebrating the tomato for 26 years now, and this year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 10, and Sunday, Sept. 11.
The festival features live entertainment, craft booths, commercial vendors, children’s activities, food and, naturally, tomato-themed goodies. A pasta dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days and costs $7. Takeout will be available.
While Tomatofest takes place at Emerson Park, one mile south of Auburn on Route 38A on Owasco Lake, visitors are encouraged to park at Auburn High School, 250 Lake Ave., and take the free
OFF THE ROAD AGAIN
Making fun, no doubt, of Oswego County’s (ahem) reputation as hick central, Mexico Point Park is holding a Road Kill Cookout to benefit Casey’s Cottage at the park. Jimmie James Barbecue of New Haven will be cooking pulled pork, baked beans, local sweet corn, salt potatoes, corn slaw and more; we promise, it’s pork. And you can get your Oswego County groove on with square and line dancing lessons from Fulton Shirts and Skirts. The event takes place Thursday, Sept. 8, 6 p.m., at the park, just off Route 104B in Mexico. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and younger. Casey’s Cottage is a cottage house on the grounds of the park converted into a country manor. It is used for all sorts of special occasions. Reservations are required at 963-7657.
Taste of Syracuse
OK, so your plane just landed from your Disney trip in Orlando, Fla., and it’s not home you want to get to, but you just have to have a Dinosaur Bar-B- Que pulled pork sandwich, or a Hoffman coney is a must. Seems rather silly, perhaps, but, hey, you’ve missed Syracuse’s finest while you were away. More likely, however, your flight has been delayed and you need a drink to calm your nerves, and we don’t mean a Saranac root beer. Only a Saranac beer will do, or perhaps a glass of Bully Hill wine.
Never fear, airline travelers, the ’Cuse has got you covered. On Aug. 23, the Gateway Café opened at Syracuse Hancock International Airport. But don’t expect to linger for a cup of Paul deLima with your sweetie before his flight leaves. It is a post-security spot, so only travelers who have been screened through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints (or who have just gotten off a plane) are allowed. The rejiggered café and gift shop complete a $400,000 renovation project at Hancock. So next time you sail past the TSA blue-shirts, congratulate yourself with a visit to the Gateway Café and spend some money locally before the Magic Kingdom gets it all. The newly established airport authority thanks you.