by Diana Mackie
Fans of Country Living magazine love how the Country Living Fair truly bring its pages to life. The fair has been around since 2006 and has been a fixture in Columbus, Ohio since 2008. The Country Living Fair was expanded to Rhinebeck, NY just last year, the summer of 2013. This outpost is the main hub for fans located all throughout the Northeast and even the Chesapeake region!
Rhinebeck’s edition of the Country Living Fair is quite sizeable. It’s held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, just a 15 or so minute walk from downtown Rhinebeck. The many vendors of the fair are housed under 14 open-air barns or under white tents sprinkled all throughout the fair. The fair is also home to a number of food vendors making up the Country Living food court and a stage for live music! Some of the most prominent features of the Country Living Fair this year were their presentation stages. All weekend long there were live performances, cooking demos, crafting classes, and interesting interviews held on their their three stages. The presentation schedules boasted both local names (like the Hudson Valley Seed Library) and celebrities (like HGTV’s Cari Cucksey and the Cooking Channel’s Beekman Boys).
In keeping with the theme of bringing the magazine to life, the Country Living editorial team was quite active throughout the whole weekend. They hosted panels like “Ten Minute Table Tops,” “Online Decorating Tools and Tricks,” and a live version of their popular column “What Is It? What Is It Worth?”. The fair also had a shuttle service to the official 2014 Country Living House of the Year, created by Catskill Farms and guest designers Suysel dePedro Cunningham, Anne Maxwell Foster, and Country Living’s own editors.
For the second year in a row, home and garden hub Hometalk.com invited their top home and garden bloggers from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to blend their online and real worlds together to attend the fair. Around 20 influential bloggers, like Kelly Elko of “Eclectically Vintage” and Kristen Rosencrans of “Thrifter in Disguise,” descended upon the vintage and craftsman booths on Saturday afternoon to find new inspiration for DIY decor and upcycling blog posts. Of course, no trip to an antique and artisan fair would be complete without a little bit of their favorite non-writing activity—shopping! The “Hometalk VIPs” capped off their afternoon with a long meet-and-greet with Country Living’s editor-in-chief Rachel Hardage Barrett.
The bloggers expressed their delight at the chance to meet with their online peers and to discover so many new thrift stores and antique shops in their region. The blogging provided by these online writers will do a lot to increase publicity for the local venues and vendors of the Hudson Valley. Hopefully the Rhinebeck Country Living Fair, and the Hudson Valley’s vintage scene overall, will continue to grow and benefit from the additional coverage and exposure.Diana Mackie is blog editor of Hometalk, an online home and garden forum.