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No time like the present

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Yet lately, it’s been all about the past.

That’s certain to continue through this week, and then all things Woodstock 50 will be behind me. For now… well, the beat goes on. As usual, I’ve been crazy busy, not unlike the proverbial headless chicken, and there’s obviously more running around in my future. While many of you are making plans to celebrate the 50th (and hopefully have your all-important travel passes) I’m well aware that many TRR readers either A- have other things to do, B- couldn’t care less, or C- are expecting company.

I don’t know about you, but my phone has been ringing off the hook for almost a year with folks on the other end looking to make a pilgrimage to you-know-what this week, and hoping that they could stay with me and the Wonder Dog. “Nope, sorry,” I said for the hundredth time just a few days ago. “I’m gonna be kind of busy. You know that I’m a reporter, right?” I asked someone who I had not spoken with since high school graduation.

“Aside from writing and photographing the anniversary celebration,” I continued, “we’re expecting upwards of 100,000 visitors to Sullivan County over the weekend, and I’m likely to be, oh, I don’t know… busy. I can assure you,” I continued, my voice dripping with sarcasm, “that entertaining old high school friends is at the bottom of my list of things to do this week.” So, when life-long gal pal Kelli Krall Donigian, who lives in Colorado, suggested that she come for a visit the week before the madness ensues, I protested (more than once). Eventually, I gave her the green light, because I love her—unlike the chick from my 11th grade math class, whose face I can’t recall.


“I really want to see the sights, visit the museum (www.bethelwoodscenter.org) and soak up some of the vibe,” Kelli said. “Oh, and get to meet Dharma, too!” she laughed. “Fine,” I said through clenched teeth. “But I have a lot to do in anticipation of the Woodstock anniversary. Better rent a car. And bring donuts,” I added. Kelli arrived without a hitch (sans donuts) and off we went at my usual breakneck speed. “I’ve got a long list of events to attend,” I said as I pulled into Sullivan County’s Kauneonga Lake, “and you are officially along for the ride!”

Kelli with the Woodstock memorial. | TRR photo by Jonathan Charles Fox

The newest exhibit debuting at the Bethel Council of the Arts (like ‘em on Facebook) touted “Rediscovered 1969 Woodstock Concert photos” by photojournalist Mark Goff and “a selection of dove designs and Woodstock-themed artwork created by local artists.” The worth-a-visit show, produced and curated by Nick Clemente, is open to the public through the 26th of the month. Even my (rejected) dove design is on display—but don’t let that stop you from checking out this lovely exhibit.


“You’re in luck,” I told Kelli, as I whisked her in and out of Callicoon, NY and another promised photo-op on the #Sullivancatskillsdovetrail. “You’re my ‘plus one’ at tomorrow’s Forestburgh Playhouse (FP) annual fundraiser called ‘A Gala in the Garden,’ which is always a good time, and for (IMHO) a very good cause. Oh right,” I added, “it’s another stop on your tourist obsession with the Dove Trail.”


“Oh, goody,” she replied, checking Callicoon off her Official Dove Trail (www.sullivancatskills.org) map. “I feel like I know everything about the Forestburgh Playhouse, since I read The River Reporter faithfully, and I think you might have (LOL) mentioned the place once or twice.”


The gala included sumptuous fare created by Narrowsburg’s own chef extraordinaire Jill Padua, a fabulous silent auction, cool raffle items and fantastic entertainment provided by the multi-talented resident company, who have been singing and dancing their way into the hearts of theatre-goers all season long. The event was hosted by New York City power couple Gio Benitez and Tommy DiDario, who as an NBC news correspondent and lifestyle expert respectively, were as charming as charming can be. I plan to make them my new BFFs (look it up!) in the near future and I’ll let you know how that all works out.

The kids performed a few numbers, including their amazing rendition of “Aquarius” which brought down the house when HAIR was playing there a few weeks ago, and is of course, timely. “Well, that was incredible,” Kelli enthused, “and kind of “Woodstocky’, too,” she said while simultaneously taking a selfie with the FP dove. “What’s next?”

“The one and only knock-yer-socks off Bagel Festival!” I replied with gusto. “Even though it was basically against my better judgement,” I said with a wink in the rear-view, “you could not have visited at a better time.”

I explained that there would be a car show, live entertainment, (including Sullivan County’s own Somerville) kids activities, scores of vendors and even (uh huh) tie-dyed bagels. Kelli was more than on board for an hours-long stroll through Monticello, NY, which festival founder Jeffrey Siegel declares “birthplace of the bagel, and official bagel capital of the world.”

To see more photos of Kelli seeing the sights, the fundraiser at the playhouse, folks enjoying the festival, and the past colliding with the present, ‘like’ us on Facebook.

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