The Harrietstown Town Hall
Both candidates for Harrietstown supervisor were pressing the flesh this past weekend at various events, and one was cooking up a plan to bring the popular farmers’ market to the Town Hall this winter.
Village Trustee Tom Catillaz, the Democratic candidate, attended the Farm 2 Fork Festival Saturday, Sept. 1 and spoke with Sam Hendren, organizer of the Saranac Lake Village Farmers’ Market at Riverside Park every Saturday in the summer months. Their conversation turned to a possible farmers’ market at the Harrietstown Town Hall in the winter months.
“I guess they tried it a year ago and the town was not very receptive to it, and I don’t want to speak for them,” Catillaz said by phone Monday, Sept. 3. “I’m going to send them a little note tomorrow and ask them to reconsider it.”
Catillaz drafted a letter to the Town Board and planned to deliver it Tuesday asking for a sit-down session to work out the details.
“That whole thing has turned into something really big,” Catillaz said about the Saturday farmers’ market. “Even if it carries on through half of the winter, it’s a good thing for everybody.”
Asked if he’d be proposing the winter farmers’ market at the Harrietstown Town Hall if he wasn’t running for town supervisor, Catillaz said, “Yes, I think so.”
And asked if this is proof of how his leadership would go as town supervisor, Catillaz said, “I hope so. You’ve got to look at stuff. You can’t just ignore everything that’s going on around you. In the village, we have had our eyes open to everything that’s come along. And if you were around the village this weekend, wow, it was packed.”
On Friday Night, the village-led Downtown Saranac Lake committee sponsored an Outdoor Movie Night at Berkeley Green, which was well attended. Short “Popeye”cartoons were shown before the main film, the original “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” The popular Farm 2 Fork Festival was held Riverside Park on Saturday. And the Hobofest drew a large crowd at the Union Depot on Sunday.
“Things are happening, and I just want to see things continue,” Catillaz said.
When contacted by phone Monday, Sept. 3, Harrietstown Councilman Bob Bevilacqua, the Republican candidate for supervisor, said this was the first he’s heard of Catillaz’s farmers’ market idea, and he hasn’t seen a proposal, so he can’t comment on it. However, he said he would seriously consider a proposal to create a winter farmers’ market at the Harrietstown Town Hall.
“I like the farmers’ market,” said Bevilacqua, who also attended the Farm 2 Fork Festival this past Saturday. “It brings a lot of people into town, and that’s want you want to see, a lot of people in town on Saturdays.”
Bevilacqua said he remembers that a group had asked the Town Board in the past to create a winter farmers’ market, but he didn’t offer any specifics about the past proposal.
Yet, even though he supports the idea, Bevilacqua said using the Town Hall for a winter farmers’ market isn’t as easy as simply saying “yes.” Bevilacqua — who sits on the town’s Buildings and Grounds Committee with Councilman Ron Keough — said there are details that need to be worked out.
The town would first have to schedule the farmers’ market around other events, such as the Sparkle Christmas and Winter Carnival programs. Staffing needs to be considered, as there are only two maintenance employees for the Town Hall, John Wheeler and Jennifer Rush.
“If it’s going to be every weekend, do John and Jenn want to go every weekend to work that? That would be another question,” Bevilacqua said. “People do need time off.”
And the town would have to find a way to offset costs incurred during the event.
“They wouldn’t be able to get the Town Hall for free because there’s overtime that has to be covered and there’s people that have to clean up afterwards,” Bevilacqua said. “There would more than likely be some type of a charge, but that would all have to be discussed by the Town Board.”
Even with the details that would have to be worked out, Bevilacqua said establishing a winter farmers’ market at the Town Hall during the winter is certainly possible.