Valley News – Acquired Taste: 12th Taste of Woodstock event offers money for food, art, music and tourism

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WOODSTOCK – The 12th annual Taste of Woodstock brought delicious bites, tunes and art to Elm Street with large and grateful crowds on Saturday.

Named for the food, the event is one of the best summer events in a city where tourists and locals converge to enjoy local artists, food from across the region, and a diverse selection of music.

The chalk art event was a big draw with eight artists competing for bragging rights.

Julie Orndorff, a watercolor artist and inker from Cleveland, said she was in town with her husband, Joshy Orndorff, for a wedding.

“My intention was to walk through the Taste of Woodstock and eat,” Julie Orndorff said.

But her husband suggested to his wife to take the last free place in the competition.

So, on a whim, she drew a bride and groom standing in the middle of Elm Street, the road she was drawing on.

It was a popular entry, but the top choice was a classic Vermont landscape scene with a country road and a barn.

Barnard’s Emily Burkholder’s piece was the obvious choice, said Deborah Goodwin, gallery coordinator at ArtisTree, which sponsored the event.

Burkholder is an oil and watercolor painter who also teaches at ArtisTree. This was the third year she entered the chalk art contest.

Goodwin said the People’s Choice Award is primarily for bragging rights, but includes a gift certificate for art supplies.

“We’ve been doing this for at least 10 years,” Goodwin said. “He’s a crowd favorite.”

The chalk art will likely last until the next rain, a bit longer than the tunes that echoed down the street as a variety of singers and bands kept visitors’ hips loose as they chased a selection of food and art.

Pizza, popcorn, empanadas, grilled corn, grilled cheese, ribs, and shaved ice were all available, along with flavors of spirits, jam, and Greek olive oil.

Arts and crafts displays pulled cards from wallets.

Kit Mead, owner of Crickit Cottage in Woodstock, was doing great business with her quirky, hand-painted home decor items in her fifth year at the event.

Although she called her art a side hustle that served as her “happy place,” Mead said the Taste of Woodstock was her highest-grossing outlet.

“Living here is a big event,” Mead said. “It’s one of our top five events. This is the only event for which they close the road.

Mead said the crowd was big this year, bigger than last.

She said the cooler weather – the rain held out despite the darkening clouds – certainly brought in more people.

Other groups enjoyed these crowds.

Luke Hanson and his father, Rob Hanson, of Woodstock Wheels, offered half-price e-bike rentals.

Rob Hanson said the crowd was good and they just sent four bikes out for an hour ride.

Alongside, Sustainable Woodstock was also happy to share information with a large crowd on environmental, economic and social responsibility. As people dropped raffle tickets to win one of the brand’s many items – including a solar-powered bike lock, solar-powered Bluetooth speaker or hand-crank/solar-powered flashlight – members provided information about their mission.

“We had some great conversations,” said volunteer Sandy Gmur.

Wayne Thompson, 80, said he grew up in Woodstock and never missed a Taste of Woodstock event.

“It’s fun,” Thompson said, listing the different music, food and chalk art as her favorites.

“I love looking at the chalk drawings,” said Thompson, who is an artist himself. “And it’s fun to meet new people.”

Thompson had met longtime friend Sara Norcross, of Reading, Vermont, and the couple were leaning against a fence, listening to music and catching up.

“It’s good after COVID to see people having fun together,” Norcross said.

Darren Marcy can be reached at dmarcy@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.

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