Photo by Dave Warner – An aerial view of the 2017 Little Falls Cheese Festival as it gets underway.
Little Falls – Join the City of Little Falls on Saturday, July 14 and say “CHEESE” for the 4th annual FREE Little Falls Cheese Festival on Saturday, July 14. This celebration of area cheesemakers and the city’s historic roots will be located on Main Street from 10am – 5pm featuring more than 50 vendors. Cheesemakers will present over 120 different varieties of cheese and others will offer food/implements related to cheese! Guests will enjoy a variety of live music all along Main Street and LiFT Theater also returns this year with “Where’s the Cheese Cake?” as penned by local playwright, Angela Harris and directed by Matt Powers. This will be the fourth in the series of original plays written specially for the festival. Guided walking tours will also be offered to points of interest related to the historical cheese trade within the city.
This annual festival celebrates artisan cheesemakers in New York State and highlights the impact that the city had on the emerging cheese industry dating back to the third quarter of the 19th century when it was coined the Cheese Capital of the US. By revisiting this piece of history, the Little Falls Cheese Festival has fashioned an opportunity for guests to come to the scenic community and explore all that it has to offer.
While the festival has continued their keen focus on New York State cheese, the event has been expanded to include new features. Committee member, Kyrie Felio, explains, “We continue to maintain the heart of our mission which is to celebrate New York State artisanal cheesemakers and historical involvement with Little Falls. Our committee has done a great job of finding ways to add new pieces to the festival without taking away from its purpose.”
“Markers on Main” is being introduce this year on the West end of Main Street. According to the website, “It will celebrate the importance of small makers of exceptional products in New York State. Expect to be surprised and delighted by what people are doing to produce upscale, handcrafted items of an amazing variety. This lively section of the city of Little Falls has a cool vibe going on and the Cheese Festival Committee is showcasing its charms as a backdrop for a small, juried celebration of artisan vendors. You will discover makers of unique, quality products – local food products, traditional arts, blown glass, handmade jewelry, natural skincare products, alpaca clothing, and much, much more.”
The outdoor wine tasting returns to the festival this year for adults with a new feature – tastings of mead! This honey wine is thought to be the oldest alcoholic beverage known to man and gained fame in ancient wedding celebrations. Modern day apiaries, Heartsease Hill Meadery and Wild Mountain Apiaries, join the festival this year. Traditional wine tastings return with Prospect Falls Winery, Hummingbird Hills Winery, and Thousand Islands Winery. They will offer samplings of their New York State wines to guests. Woodland Farm Brewery also joins and will be set up in The Shop offering their craft beer.
Local businesses welcome the festival’s visitors and appreciate the opportunity to meet new patrons. Committee member, Elaine Cobb, explains, “The festival is located on Main Street, but the entire city will be full of energy. We encourage everyone who comes to the festival to Explore Little Falls and see all we have to offer. You’ll find locally owned shops, delicious food, historic architecture, access to the Erie Canal, unique outdoor recreation, and amazing people in our city.”
As attendance continues to grow for this unique event, exposure for this historic “Rock City” does as well. Committee member, Laura Powers, shares, “We’ve had a lot of excitement here in recent years with Water Music NY, dedication of Lock 17, visits by the Draken Viking ship and the Corning GlassBarge, and of course Paramount Pictures filming scenes from ‘A Quiet Place’ right here on Main Street, to name a few. The dedication of our community to enhance and promote the quality of Little Falls is what makes it all work. This festival is a shining example of that and demonstrates the positive impact of attracting visitors to our city.”
Support for the festival has been strong going into the 4th season. Feldmeier Equipment and WKTV News Channel 2 return as Platinum sponsors, with Enea Family Funeral Homes and Stewart’s Shops returning as Silver sponsors. According to the festival website, there even more additional Supporters. Special thanks are given to Main Street First, the City of Little Falls, the Little Falls Family YMCA, and the Little Falls Tourism Committee for their ongoing support.
Guests are encouraged to bring a small cooler to keep their purchases cool while they enjoy the day. Entry to the festival is free and there is free parking throughout downtown. Please visit www.littlefallscheesefestival.com or like ‘Little Falls Cheese Festival’ on Facebook for more information.