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CALLICOON, NY — There were some planning bumps in the road for Irene Nickolai, Patti Moorhead and the other members of the newly formed “I Love Callicoon, Inc.” as they put together the inaugural PorchFest.
They were denied a grant opportunity, offered another and went head-to-head several times with Town of Delaware Supervisor Ed Sykes as they lobbied for the town’s support in hosting the three-day festival.
Ultimately, however, the weekend seemed to be groovy. Musicians took over Upper and Lower Main streets in Callicoon, with nonstop sets Friday through Sunday, August 16 to 18, at venues including the train depot, the hotel, the porch of the new brewery and the weigh station. Guests wandered the closed-down streets stopping at food trucks, checking out vendor sales and pausing to admire the artistic talent in the sunshine.
Several miles away, thousands celebrated the 50th anniversary of Woodstock Music and Arts Fair at its host site, Bethel Woods, as well as Max Yasgur’s Farm. That spirit was certainly felt at PorchFest, where some showed up dressed as hippies and others reminisced on the spirit of the ‘60s.
“It is different. I have the spirit [of Woodstock] because I was there,” said Gilbert Malavi, visiting PorchFest from Middletown. “But still people remember that, and they want to remember the ‘60s. They want to go back—the vehicles, the music, the way they dress, peace and love. Peace and love and kindness.”
PorchFest organizers said they considered the weekend “an amazing success.” Certainly, it was an opportunity for Callicoon businesses to capitalize on the influx of people to Sullivan County. “It was a much-needed boost for the Callicoon economy,” said Nickolai, "We had several thousand over the weekend and all three days were record-breaking for the businesses.”