The term hobo means different things to different people conjuring up images of the Depression, freight jumping, and an independent spirit. For my family it brings up my grandfather’s stories as an orphaned runaway immigrant living on the streets of Brooklyn. His stories were colorful and glossed over a hard street life. After spending a brief time on the rails, he lied about his age to join the military where he would recall the first time he ate a meal until he was full. Years later he was able help others and always fed anyone that passed by or knocked on the door.
With Farm2Fork and the HoboFest, Labor Day weekend in Saranac Lake brings together three elements that my grandfather would love: fresh food, music and railroads.
Since 2009 the free musical HoboFest has taken place on the lawn between the Adirondack Scenic Railroad station and the 7444 Gallery at 28 Depot Street. The whole event is a celebration of music and celebrating American culture and the music that was generated by what became viewed as the independent hobo spirit.
On August 31st the musical talent is going to be incredible. With some fan favorites returning and new musicians joining the mix, the event is scheduled to start at noon. The Adirondack Scenic Railroad is still operating so please be careful.
The event is timed to kick off with A Love Supreme 50 Year Anniversary (W. Davison, J.Woulfe, C. DeHond, R. Weber). From then on the bands play in sets with Montreal’s Lew Dite, Baltimore’s Honey Dewdrops, Upper Jay’s Jeremiah Weed and the Wildeflowers, Beacon’s Stone Fleet, Saranac Lake’s Crackin’ Foxy, Asheville’s Resonant Rogues, Keene’s Back Porch Society, and ending with Nashville’s Woody Pines.
Eat-N-Meet Grill will hit the tracks and provide their locally prepared food for a fee. Also look for Blue Line Brewery and other sponsors. There is a children’s activities booth at the Adirondack Carousel to keep everyone entertained during the musicians’ slight breaks. Bring chairs and blankets or just danced to the lively music. People will be dressed up in costume. The whole atmosphere is a joyous sharing of a love for music.
The previous day, August 30 from 9 am – 2 pm, is the annual Farm2Fork Festival in Saranac Lake’s Riverside Park. This year the festival has partnered with Taste NY allowing to expand the local food tastings to provide samplings from local beer, wine, and cider companies. In addition to a series of workshops and live music, attendees can purchase a $10 tasting ticket for 8 Home Cook Stations, a pickle bar, ice cream book and the Artisan Beverage Bar. Organized by Green Circle Founder Gail Brill, the festival provides a fun atmosphere to celebrate local farmers and fresh food.
I enjoy passing along my grandfather’s stories to my own children. He had a respect for food because he grew up with it being a rare and precious commodity. He loved music because it could provide such joy for so many for so little. Farm2Fork and the HoboFest are celebrating those simpler times. Enjoy!
Photo of HoboFest used with the permission of Diane Chase, AdirondackFamilyTime.com