By Merna Popper
Andes was alive, bustling and thriving, to be sure, on Community Day, and it was all caught on radio with the booming voice of realtor Ron Guichard covering the event. At our gallery, Andes Antiques & Art, on the river at 27 Delaware Avenue, around the corner from Main Street, we hosted more than 500 people in two days.
Remarkable! Here is our view of the goings-on about town on Community Day 2008:
One couple, standing on a patch of Andes’ spiffy new sidewalk, in a rush to get back home to the big city, swore they would put their Manhattan townhouse on the market immediately, and without passing “Go,” return and live in Andes forevermore.
We’ll see, but they certainly seemed determined, as were others who made the same discoveries about our town. Their sentiment was echoed by wide-eyed tourists who captured Andes cows, barns, and townsfolk over the weekend. “Who knew this still existed in America?” asked one.
It’s easy to appreciate the outstanding quality of life in Andes. Folks everywhere recognize what secure little Andes has to offer in contrast to a turbulent world. Computers and technology are playing an important role in liberating people from conventional office cubicles, and the ease of creating a one-world universal office is more and more appealing. Home-based business and self-determination rule and it’s clear that business as we have known it is a-changin’.
The buzz heard in Andes after the bustle of Community Day died down “Hey, this has gotta be the only place to live.” And, who among us would deny it?
After the last of the marchers in the parade beat the final Boom-Boom on the drums, waved the flags, and we caught a last glimpse of the Model T car carrying Supervisor Marty Donnelly, the signal was made: Let the games begin!
Nearly everybody on the street was laden with packages after shopping stores and galleries, and they seemed to be willing to park down Route 28 toward Margaretville and walk all the way back for the privilege of being in Andes that day. And a memorable day it was –plenty of fun and good business.
Karen Levey and Larry Breakstone at Gallery 61 on Main Street were frenetically wrapping great framed cow woodcuts and superb paintings. People adore her and the gallery. And why not? Their taste is outstanding.
Sean Scherer at Kabbinet & Kammer, on the corner opposite Cantina, sent people into the streets carrying little brown shopping bags stamped with Sean’s now-famous hand printed snail logo. Always an adventure to see the unusual things Sean packs into those little bags.
Andes Antiques & Art was packed to the rafters all day with visitors, old friends and new customers to the gallery and to Andes. Armoires, old trunks, great paintings flew out the door, and artist Geoffrey Raymond held court and talked about the portraits of former Governor Elliot Spitzer, artist Julian Schnabel and other famous people exhibited in the gallery until Labor Day.
More art was enjoyed as Zoe Randall threw open the doors of the Chase-Randall Gallery for yet another wonderful exhibition of beautiful paintings, and a line formed to get into the tiny C.A.S.A. co-op run by Linda Jones. With such perfect weather, people seemed content to hang out, enjoy the day and wait their turn to get in.
Big moment for Leo Koenig, who invited the public to preview the gallery he will be opening in the barn out in the field behind his house on Main Street. Beautifully designed interior architecture distinguishes the new space, and visitors argued their opinions about the art. Now, isn’t that what art is supposed to do?
Newcomer on Main Street, Brian St. Cyr, who escaped the floods in New Orleans only to end up in Andes, opened his studio for the weekend for visitors to view his work. St. Cyr works with foam board and carves out dramatic abstract sculptures that are being widely talked about in art circles.
Popular Paisley’s and Mercantile, attracted hoards of browsers and buyers who always find charming and attractive fashion and houseware items.
At the school, vendors under tents displayed a variety of wares while shoppers were also able to enjoy performances by the Blue Ribbon Cloggers and Country Express. This year barbecue chef Mickey Weaver was responsible for the lip-smacking chicken that was served on the porch, one of the fundraisers that ensure the continuation of this annual celebration.
It was hard to get a seat in any restaurant and Hogan’s surely must’ve run out of ice cream cones and slabs of pizza. Even town mascot cat, Cumin, who lives on the porch at Hogan’s, seemed to love all the attention, petting and scraps bestowed by tourists.
The outdoor cafe at Cantina and the porches at Woody’s and The Hotel, looked like scenes from Impressionist paintings with people sporting sprawling sun hats, dark glasses, sophisticated chatter and glamour rarely seen on streets anywhere else these days. Eat your heart out, Paris, Andes rivals the Champs-Elysées any day.
Wonderful town shop owner and activist, Scott Hill, took a good-natured beating all day from children who painted him, dunked him, poked him and played as they passed the beautiful Delaware Gallery, always filled with the interesting things. Scott designed the signs and many of the creative marketing props that helped put Community Day over the top this year.
Seems Andes is a natural paradise for filmmakers, artists, business people–even lawyers who are finding they can hop on a plane from Albany or Newburgh and get to their business appointments around the world. Bienvenu! Welcome to Andes!
Was this Andes Community Day a success, or what? You bet! It was the Community Day to end all Community Days. Same time next year, folks…~