Columbus Day weekend is upon us, and the fall foliage is unfolding its full glory. The Catskills are booming with festivals this week, including events at each of the four ski resorts: Plattekill, Hunter, Windham and Belleayre. While you’re out and about, check out three cool new businesses celebrating grand openings this weekend: the North Branch Inn, a new restaurant from the team behind The Arnold House in Sullivan County; 1857 Spirits, a new vodka distillery and tasting room at Barber’s Farm in Middleburgh; and Ze Windham Wine Bar, a new venture in a very old building. Here are our picks for fun places to eat and drink while enjoying the mid-October beauty and bounty of the Catskills this week.
Know of a food-related event coming up? We do this every Thursday, so let us know, too.
- Narrowsburg Honey Bee Fest: Saturday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with some evening events), various locations in Narrowsburg. A celebration of all things pollinator-related, this inaugural festival takes over the Sullivan County hamlet with tastings (honey, honey ice cream, honey-based beverages — you get the idea), talks and activities exploring the wonderful world of bees. There’s a parade, a local-foods vendors’ market, art, garden tours and kids’ crafts. Among the Catskill food purveyors participating are Catskill Provisions, serving cocktails, and Early Bird Cookery, which will supply an ice cream booth with flavors like honey and black currant. Restaurants The Heron and Gerard’s River Grill are serving special themed dinner menus as well. Admission is free.
- Taste of the Catskills: Saturday, Oct. 10, and Sunday Oct. 11, 10 a.m., rain or shine, Maple Shade Farm, 2066 County Highway 18, Delhi. This annual celebration of local eats features many Catskill farms, restaurants and food producers in a family-friendly setting that includes live music, a “Farm Olympics” competition, puppets, bocce, workshops, demos and a harvest dinner on Saturday night. Tickets for one-day entry are $10/adults and $5/children ages 4 to 16 (children under 4 are free); separate fees apply for special events.
- Founders’ Day Oktoberfest: Saturday, Oct. 10, and Sunday, Oct. 11, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., various locations in Jeffersonville. Jump into some old-fashioned Catskill fun with bed races, tug of war and horse-and-buggy rides in this village-wide festival with a German theme. Diehl’s Homestead will be spinning maple-sweetened cotton candy, and lots of other Catskill food purveyors will be on hand with craft beer and cider, ice cream and bratwursts. There’s a hot-dog-eating contest and a streusel-baking contest, and local restaurants will offer themed specials. Admission is free.
- Phoenicia Flea: Saturday, Oct. 10, and Sunday, Oct. 11, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., rain or shine, Stone Ridge Orchard, 3012 Route 213, Stone Ridge. The flea closes out its 2015 season at an Ulster County farm, where you can browse handcrafted wares while enjoying brick-oven pizza and Hudson Valley Farm Cider. The orchard also offers pick-your-own apples, so bring some tote bags and make a day of it.
- Craft Beer Festival: Saturday, Oct. 10, noon to 4 p.m., Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, 200 Hurd Road, Bethel. Thirty-two breweries and cideries bring their suds to the center’s Market Sheds for an afternoon of tastings. If you’re looking for a chance to immerse yourself in the beer boom happening across New York State, this is a great chance to sample the goods from Callicoon Brewing Co., Roscoe Beer Co., Livingston Manor’s Catskill Brewery and Walton’s Awestruck Ciders, along with others from Brooklyn to the Finger Lakes. Food vendors will supply snacks on the Great Lawn. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door; designated drivers pay $15.