Who doesn't like to eat? That's how one happy gourmand explained the amazing turnout for Scarsdale's first major festival on Sunday September 22. Though heavy rain and wind on Saturday night threatened to put a damper on the event, Sunday dawned bright, cool and clear as hundreds of volunteers and vendors set up for the large crowd that was expected that day. Prepared for any weather, the producers arranged for extensive tenting running the full length of Spencer Place, Boniface Circle and a good portion of Chase Road. The canopy was clear in portions to let in the light and the tents helped to shield the hundreds of food and wine purveyors from the elements. It disappeared as magically as it appeared leaving everyone wondering whether they had imagined this wonderful Sunday in Scarsdale.
No one could imagine how Scarsdale could accommodate thousand of visitors and their vehicles. How would they get here and where would they park? Furthermore, the Bronx River Parkway was closed for bicycle Sunday. Would that be an impediment to visitors or would bikers flock to the fair? However, the organizers arranged for drivers to park at numerous garages and parking lots where they were taken to the fair by shuttles that circled continuously. In fact, we didn't hear a single complaint about traffic and many locals decided to walk or bike to leave available spots to visitors.
We can't begin to quantify the variety of food and drink that was offered at the festival. Steak, sliders, salad, crostini, pizza, twinkies, ragout, pulled pork, pasta, chicken tikka, fresh oysters, paella and sushi were just some of the foods we saw and sampled as we paraded up and down the length of the tents. Both established restaurants and some just in the planning phases were on hand to meet potential customers and offer tastings from their menus.
While some ate, others purchased wine tickets and a glass to hang on a lanyard on their neck. The bacchanal on Boniface Circle was "adults only" as wine and beer were poured into partyers glasses.
And there was more than food and drink. Celebrity chefs David Burke and Rafael Palomino gave cooking demonstrations on the large stage that was constructed at the end of Spencer Place and East Parkway. There was an impressive array of cookbooks that one could purchase and have signed by the author. New products such as Skinny Eats salad dressing were demoed and distributed.
Other brands took the opportunity to simply hand out their products. We came home with a Polar soft drink and Dannon yogurt and would have taken more if we could carry it.
Visitors who had their fill of food and drink repaired to Chase Park for a live performance by the B Street Band – a Bruce Springstein look alike- who gave a first-rate rendition of the Boss's soundtrack. Kids did crafts, and grown-ups washed up at a beautiful booth from Meyers natural cleaning products.
Tired but exhilarated, Rich Baumer, who organized the event with his family said, "The overwhelming success of the SOWE festival, support from the community, and showcasing of four great charitable organizations, combined for a very special day in Scarsdale. Over 7,000 attendees enjoyed outstanding food, great weather, huge variety of wine and beer, fun music, chef demos and more. Over 100 merchants, sponsors and restaurants were busy all day distributing products, samples, prepared and packaged foods, coupons and special offers. As organizers, Casey, Stacey and I are thrilled that the months of hard work resulted in exceeding even our own high expectations. We are confident this will be the first of many similar events in Westchester County."
Scarsdale Chamber of Commerce President and former Mayor Carolyn Stevens said, "The Village government was incredible at working with us to make this a successful event. The police, firemen, sanitation workers and Village Manager's office were helpful and cooperative and planned a wonderful day. They problem-solved and worked cooperatively to pull it off. There were not traffic or safety issues and from the perspective of Scarsdale government it was a wonderful event. The Chamber of Commerce was pleased to see how many newcomers came to town to see what we offer. Hopefully they will return to eat, shop and use our professional services. "
Everyone we spoke to was awed and amazed at the breadth of the festival. Smiling and surprised they greeted neighbors they had not seen in years and sampled food from all over the county. One friend turned to me and said hopefully, "will they be doing this again next year?"
We don't know the answer to that question now, but based on our experience we certainly hope this becomes an annual event.
(Picutred at top, Event Producers Casey and Rich Baumer)
Thanks to the following for a fabuous event:
Scarsdale Chamber of Commerce
Baumer Ventures, Inc. & Imagine Party & Events
Wilson & Son Jewelers
Scarsdale Medical Group
Captain Lawrence Brewing Company
Scarsdale Improvement Corporation
Fred Marcus Photography
Advocate Brokerage/Pure Insurance
Big Green Egg
Cayman Islands Dept of Tourism
Julia B. Fee
Party Line Rentals
Red Oak Transportation
Squeaky Wheel Promotion
Empire City Casino
Zoe Olive Oil
Scarsdale Dental Group
Home Free Treats
Homerica Mortgage Corporation
Seth Greenberg’s Brownie Crunch
Choice Organic Teas
In the Raw
Food Should Taste Good
Oasis Day Spa
Jerry Rose Florist
Don Bosco Community Center
Food Bank for Westchester
Hometown Media Group
Westchester Family Magazine
WAG/Westchester County Business Journal