Carrot Festival History
In 1978, the CAA parking lot needed to be paved. Members Paul and Rose Westheimer, owners of The Carrot Barn at Schoharie Valley Farms, produced and packaged 1400 tons of carrots a year, and suggested during a brainstorming session, that a carrot-themed fundraiser may be a successful endeavor to complete the task at hand.
After 30 years of successful Carrot Festivals, the Westheimers were glad to see their idea become a community institution. They remember Paul's father Julius making and selling fresh carrot juice at the first festival! There were pony rides on the front lawn, along with cotton candy and taffy for kids. "It was minuscule compared to now," Paul Westheimer said. The money raised in that first festival, mostly from selling fruit and vegetables, paid for the paving job and was the beginning of what has become one of the Capital Region's favorite end-of-summer outings. While the Westheimers no longer own The Carrot Barn, they still play a role in the planning of the Festival by serving as honorary committee members. Committee meetings typically start in January.
The event now showcases foods and desserts from all over the world including several kinds of carrot cake. Other features include produce from the Carrot Barn in Schoharie, live music and entertainment throughout the day, vendors and crafters, a community service tent, a pet adoption clinic, and plenty of activities to keep children entertained.
While there is always a variety of food at the Carrot Festival, patrons are encouraged to save room for cake! Several kinds of carrot cake are made, but the "star of the show" is the Signature Carrot Festival Carrot Cake. There is a buttery praline filling between the two layers, which are topped with a rich cream cheese frosting. It is not to be missed!
In 2006, the Congregation copyrighted and published the cookbook Divine Kosher Cuisine. Since we always get requests for Carrot Festival recipes, a section of the cookbook was devoted to Carrot Festival recipes. Of course, the book contains many delicious kosher recipes and it can be purchased online in our Web Store page.
Live music is scheduled throughout the day. Special afternoon concerts have featured the local bands Flame, Joe's Boys, the McKrells, The Accents, and The Refrigerators, to name a few. In 2019, we were also honored with a performance by American Idol 3rd Place winner Madison VanDenburgh. Other entertainment traditionally includes a Klezmer band, Israeli dancers, performers from SLOC's fall shows, and much more.
Vendors and crafters sell items such as jewelry, kitchen gadgets, pottery, cosmetics, floral designs, clothing and more. The community service tent features local non-profit organizations showcasing what they do to help the community. The children's area is always filled with activities to keep kids of all ages busy for hours.
Now in its 42nd year, The Carrot Festival has become a community family tradition. COVID-19 required us to change the look of the Festival for 2020. There will be no formal gathering on the grounds, but there will be carrot cake, virtual vendors, opportunities to support local businesses, including restaurants, stores, and participants in our children's area, and many volunteer opportunities with our new partner, The United Way of the Greater Capital Region!
Our theme is
42nd Annual Carrot Festival:
Celebrating and Serving our Community.
We look forward to your participation!
Remember admission is always free.
Visit our Carrot Festival Facebook page for more information.