The Country Living Fair: Highly Curated, Extremely Shoppable
By Andrea Pyros
The Country Living Fair is coming to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds for the second year in a row this June 6-8. If you’re looking to replenish your tube sock drawer, keep on driving. This is not the fair for you. But if you’re interested in a highly curated selection of arts, crafts, antiques and food, along with demos, live music and opportunities to meet the Country Living editors, you’ll be a very happy visitor.
To find out what to expect, Rural Intelligence spoke with Christine Rannazzisi-Gerstein, associate publisher of Country Living, who raved about Dutchess County and promised attendees another successful event.
Rural Intelligence: What can visitors to the fair look forward to?
Christine Rannazzisi-Gerstein: The shopping is amazing! Attendees are going to find things they can’t find anywhere else. They also can buy directly from vendors who have been featured in our magazine. They get excited to talk to the artisans. A lot of these vendors are like mini celebs. For example, Joanna Madden makes the most gorgeous jewelry [for her line My Funky Findings] and fair attendees love to talk to her and get tips on layering necklaces. It’s not just that you are buying a thing; you’re also getting to know the person behind the item and getting their expertise. We’ll also have a main stage set up with demonstrations from people on TV like Cari Cucksey of Cash and Cari, the celebrity designers of Tilton Fenwick and The Fabulous Beekman Boys. Plus, great food.
RI: Talk to us about the food.
CRG: There’s amazing food! Because we are on the Dutchess County Fairgrounds we’ll have some of those food vendors but we are also bringing in many food trucks, organic hamburgers, cupcakes, vendors that do amazing BBQ. We’ll also have cooking demos going on over the weekend.
RI: What makes the fair appealing to your vendors?
CRG: First of all, they know that it’s a qualified audience. [Our attendees] have a synergy with the magazine. And the fair is a vetted event. You have to be accepted to be a seller, and many applicants are turned down. The vendors get to have a connection with the audience — they are getting instant feedback, a mini-focus group, at a show like this. It’s very exciting for our vendors to get out there and talk to the consumer.
RI: What’s new compared to last year’s Rhinebeck fair?
CRG: We went up 10 percent in vendors, but the biggest difference will be that our fairgoers will have the opportunity to visit Country Living’s House of the Year in Rhinebeck. Every year we have a building project and it has a different twist. The twist this time is that only our attendees can take a free shuttle bus to the House of the Year [which was created by Catskill Farms in collaboration with guest designers Tilton Fenwick and Country Living’s editors].
RI: Why did you choose Rhinebeck for one of your three fair locations?
CRG: We love Rhinebeck! We are so excited to be back for year two. Last year was our first year in Rhinebeck and it was a smashing success. On the Friday of fair weekend there was a massive downpour, and it was still packed with people in their wellies, so we knew we had a winner. We were overjoyed. Our attendees are coming from different states, so it’s an added bonus that they can go to the fair and then experience Dutchess County. It’s the perfect location.
There will be around 250 vendors at this year’s fair, including quite a few from RI’s neck of the woods and surrounding areas. Look out for names like The Hudson Valley Seed Library (Accord); Beekman 1802 Mercantile (Sharon Springs); De Mon Jardin (Pawling); Hammertown (Great Barrington, Rhinebeck and Pine Plains); Dashing Star Farm (Millerton); Tuthilltown Spirits (Gardiner); Grass Fed Bluegrass (Hudson Valley); Agnes Devereux from The Village TeaRoom Restaurant & Bake Shop (New Paltz); and The Pistachio Potter (Brimfield) just to name a few.
Country Living Fair
June 6-7-8 at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds
10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily, rain or shine
Purchase early-bird, one-day, and/or three-day passes, starting at $13.