Finger Lakes, N.Y. - The third annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival is slated for Saturday July 26 from 10 am-5 pm at Sunset View Creamery in Odessa, NY, which is about five miles outside of Watkins Glen. Sunset View is a founding member of the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail which puts on this annual family-focus event, and the Planning Committee is excited to announce many new additions to this year's festival.
"We had great success last year when we held the event at Sunset View Creamery," explains Planning Committee member Lisa Engelbert of Engelbert Farms in Nichols. "So we are keeping it there. There is plenty of room to grow the Festival, and this year we have more vendors, new activities and more local businesses and organizations as sponsors." Title Sponsor for the Festival is the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. Platinum Sponsor is the NYS Farm Bureau of Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Seneca, Schuyler, Tioga and Tompkins Counties. Gold sponsor is Waterloo
Engelbert continues, "These are businesses and organizations we support, do business with, and belong to. And we are so grateful that they, in turn, have reached out to support our festival so we can continue to grow the Festival."
This year, the Trail continues their partnership with the Finger Lakes Beer Trail and will allow a few of their craft beer members to again sample and sell at the event. Theresa Hollister, co-founder of the Trail will lead the Beer & Cheese Pairing Seminar. Attendees will not only learn how to create the perfect pairings, they will also get to sample the pairings. The seminar is at 3:30, free and limited to 50 people.
Attendees will also get to sample the full pairings at the Wine & Cheese Pairing Seminar at 1:30. This seminar will again be led by master sommelier and wine writer Holly Howell and will pair Trail cheeses with wines from wineries that are Associate Members of the Trail. This seminar is also free and limited to 50 people.
Other popular adult activities include the Cooking with Cheese Demo (free) at 11:30 and the Cheesemaking Classes at 10:30, 12:30 and 2:30.
The Cooking Demo will be led by Chef Christopher Bates, who recently opened the FLX Wienery on Route 14 in Dundee. Chef Bates will demo how to make bean curd and cheese curd burgers, featuring the curds of Shtayburne Farm.
The Cheesemaking Classes will be led by top regional cheesemaker Tom Pinello. This year, the class will be more hands on as Tom teaches his students how to make ricotta cheese. At the end of the class, students will have a container of ricotta to take home with them, and a recipe card in case they wish to try it on their own. Class size is limited to 16 per hour and a half session, and costs $30.00 per person, or $50.00 per couple. Pre-registration
is required by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org,
and can be paid for in advance by credit card or the day of the Festival at the registration desk.
For the kids, there will again be a kids' craft corner, Barnyard Olympics, petting zoo, goat milking and games with the NYS Dairy Princesses. This year, there will also be a kids midway with several fun games to play for prizes.
For the whole family, there will be music all day. Top area bands will play two hour sets, with local DJs filling in between sets. Bob & Dee take the stage from noon to 2:00pm, and The Purple Valley will play from 2:30-4:00pm.
In addition there will be guided and self-guided farm tours, hayrides, Bossy Bingo hosted by a local 4H club, and even a dunking booth.
In addition to all the great activities, there will be plenty to eat, sample and buy. There will be a full Farm Market featuring the creameries of the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail and many local food and farm vendors. There will be
four BBQ stations, one by Burke's BBQ, one by Kirton's Farm Market, one by Cooley's and a Cornell Chicken BBQ put on by K&R Catering. Local beverages will include the juices of Red Jacket Orchards, wines from three of the Trail's member wineries and beer from three craft brewers. Water and milk will also be available.
Along with the food and drink, the Trail invited their neighbor artisans and farms to participate in the event, so there will also be farm produce and products, along with locally made products and wares. There will even be a booth offering seated massages!
"There will be something for everyone." explains Carmella Hoffman, owner of Sunset View Creamery and member of the festival's planning committee. "Think of it as a huge summer family bbq and farmers market all wrapped up
Admission to the festival is $2 per adult, kids 12 and under free. Parking is free. The first 500 attendees who bring their parking stub to the registration table will receive a commemorative re-useable shopping bag. And
attendees are encouraged to bring a cooler to keep their purchases in. A tractor-pulled shuttle will run between the festival and the parking areas all day.
A full schedule of events, list of vendors and list of sponsors are available on the Cheese Festival page on the Trail's website or on the Cheese Festival Tab on the Trail's Facebook page. Updates, changes and new vendors are announced on Facebook as well.
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