TRR photos by Elizabeth Lepro
Irene Nikolai, center, vouches for PorchFest with Callicoon Brewing Company’s Patti Moorhead, right, to supervisor Ed Sykes.

Town of Delaware reluctant to sponsor PorchFest, youth honored

CALLICOON, NY — A group of business owners in Callicoon headed by Irene Nikolai, owner of the Western Hotel, are planning on hosting PorchFest 2019 this summer—with or without the town’s support.

The group presented their plans to the Town of Delaware board several months ago, asking if the town would sponsor a $10,000 Plans and Progress matching grant for the event. The two-day festival, which is slated to take place the same weekend as the Woodstock 50th anniversary, August 16 through 18, will feature more than 50 musical acts presented on front porches, stoops and lawns of public spaces on Main Street in Callicoon. The fest also includes a pub crawl.

The town board did agree to sponsor the group’s first grant application, which was denied. They are now re-applying for a second round of grant money and asked again for the town’s support at last week’s meeting.

Supervisor Ed Sykes and the town’s attorney, Kenneth Klein, were not enthusiastic to sign on again.

“To sponsor a project that involves taverns, it’s a scary thing,” Sykes said. His concern is that if liquor-selling venues in Callicoon don’t have enough liquor liability insurance—often referred to as dram shop insurance—the town could be sued for any incidents that occur.

Nikolai noted that other sidewalk fests in town, including the Country Fair and the tractor parade, have had few incidents, though alcohol is served. The town is not involved in those productions. Nikolai is adament that this festival is a way for local businesses—who have struggled in the off season—to benefit from the tourist surge expected to happen Woodstock weekend.

Sykes and the rest of the board agreed to sponsor the group only if each bar, restaurant and vendor—including Peck’s Market and the gas station, both of which sell beer—serving alcohol in Callicoon can prove that they have liquor liability insurance. “I can tell you that if it’s less than half a million in dram shop, you might as well stay home,” Sykes said.

In other business at the meeting, the town awarded two Good Citizenship Awards to Titus Homenick and Landon Boyd for picking up litter in town.

The board also discussed a camera security and outdoor lighting system planned for the building. A special meeting was set for May 14 at 7 p.m. to consider and act upon a bond resolution for the new highway garage.

Tanyia Vannatta, from the Callicoon Business Association, said the country fair in Callicoon will be July 27. The CBA will partner with the Delaware Youth Center for the event and offer walking tours of town and a slideshow on the town’s history for its 150th anniversary.

Read about Callicoon’s trash conundrum here.


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