The weather for Springfest on Saturday can be summed up in a single word- perfect. After last year’s relentless downpour, this Springfest was one for the record books and the community responded by turning out in droves.
Stephanie Fraino has been at the planning helm for seven years but this year marks her final swan song; she is moving to Florida in June.
“I’m going out on a high note and I don’t think I could top it even if I tried. I have all the confidence in the world that the new events committee will bring their own ideas to it and make it even better,” she said. “I am so thankful for our community, I love watching all the families come out and have so much fun in a safe environment. That just warms my heart.”
Fraino said she will truly miss Highland.
“I love and appreciate the warmness of this community. It will be a bittersweet move for us,” she said.
Randie Ratick started a home-based business three years ago called Themes & Variations and took a booth at Springfest.
“Everything is hand-made, hand-knit and I do custom made work, gift baskets but I specialize in memory work. I take people’s treasured belongings and instead of keeping it boxed away in a closet somewhere, we take it out and create something new that they can pass down to different generations,” she said.
Gina Hansut has been a Scentsy Consultant for wick-less electric candles for more than a year.
“It is something that is fun in my life. They work great, I love them and it brings me joy,” she said.
Christopher Miller was promoting the New Paltz Karate Academy, where he teaches Isshin-Ryu style karate that originated in Okinawa, Japan. The translation means “one heart way.”
“Our school focuses on self-defense, teaching students starting at age 5 and our oldest student in his seventies,” Miller said.
Kelly McGinnis is the proprietor of Cafe Arts in the hamlet. She said Springfest provides the public with an opportunity to visit her store. She sells clothing, provides food and sells artwork by local artists.
Todd Ridolph is the owner of a local maple syrup farm, known as Pancake Hollow Sugarworks.
“I have about 1,600 trees and I have my sugar house at Hudson Ale Works,” he said. “The harvest is about two months long – February and March – and it takes about 60 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. This year I boiled 17,000 gallons of sap for about 50 hours, ending up with 300 gallons of syrup.”
This was the first time Ridolph took a booth at Springfest.
‘It’s great. I grew up in Highland and it’s good to see the town with the brewery that kind of anchors things.” he said.
Gia Ness performed solo on a ukulele, a four sting member of the guitar family originating in Hawaii. She plays, “a little bit of everything from Motown and 1950s and 1960s all the way to current music.”
Ness stared out on guitar at 11 and progressed to playing bass in a band for years. She took some time away from music, working for a software company, but one day stumbled upon a ukulele in a music store and found it the perfect size for traveling.
Ness said Springfest, “is fabulous. They have a good crowd and a perfect, beautiful day...there is such a variety of food and vendors and so much entertainment.”
Pharmacist Raymond Poluzzi has represented Hannaford at several past Springfest celebrations.
“A lot of people know me but this is an opportunity to meet newer people and to reinforce those who may think about trying us and may not know us and enlighten people about things that we do,” he said. “I do like to get out to see everybody and people get to see Hannaford in a different light.”
Musician Luke Munson, of the band Ayer was invited to play at Springfest at the last minute when a slot opened up in the schedule for his group.
“We do Ritchie Valens and Queen; we like a lot of the older music,” he said. “Our singer’s mother speaks Spanish and said you guys like a lot of old music you are the Chicos de Ayer – the boys of yesterday - and last week we made it just Ayer.”
Lloyd Supervisor Paul Hansut said the turnout was wonderful.
“There are a lot of vendors and a lot of non-profits,” he said. “After what the girls went through last year with all the rain, they deserve a good day and then some.”
Hansut said the town will miss the Events Committee chairwoman Stephanie Fraino, saying the 2019 Springfest, “is a good send-off.”