By Mary Lou Nahas
For Capital Region Independent Media
The annual Oak Hill Day this year will be on Saturday, July 30, the last Saturday of the month. I know the youth fair is going on that day too and hope folks will visit both.
Oak Hill Day is intended to celebrate the spirit of the community, both past and present. It is organized by the Oak Hill Preservation Association. OHPA, founded in 2004, is a nonprofit society organized to preserve and protect the historic environment of Oak Hill, to raise public awareness and promote the preservation and appreciation of this environment through organized historical and cultural activities, public programs and events, including tours and lectures, appropriate exhibits and displays, and membership.
Oak Hill Day was one of the early projects of the group. It originated as Garage Sale Day to support the St. Paul’s Church annual rummage sale run by Karla Tyson, a strong supporter of the town.
Karen Patterson, president of the Oak Hill Preservation Association, is chairing the event again this year. While plans are far from finalized, they are in the works and it is time to put it on your calendar and sign up to participate.
The day officially starts at 9 a.m. with lawn sales around town and ends with ice cream and music this year on the St. Paul’s Church lawn.
By noon the yard sales have calmed down and the emphasis shifts to history presentations. Since St. Paul’s Church is being highlighted this year, several events will be there: There will be a talk on the history of the building and the people who founded it. Another talk will be on the St. Paul’s Cemetery, something that has not been done before. And an hour will be set aside for people who have been part of the congregation to share their memories. We hope many will come to tell stories.
At 4 p.m. Diane Dratz and crew will be serving free ice cream from Stewart’s, and members of the Twelve Tribes and others in the community will play music at St. Paul’s.
The yard sales are along Route 81 and on side roads. There has never been a real map because people often wait until the last minute to decide to have a sale and because no one has wanted to be in charge of making a map, a job which takes a lot of work.
Sales are noted with signs provided by OHPA. Last year OHPA purchased new signs, but if anyone still has an old one (people frequently keep their sign from year to year; it is easier than returning, storing and handing out again), they can definitely use it. The new signs can be picked up at the post office, town building and I U Tripp store closer to July 30.
We greatly hope there will be a large, multifamily sale at Mert and Kathy Hulbert’s house on 81 as you come into town from Greenville. Many residents regularly hold sales. There will also be several booths with local artisans offering soap, wreaths, art and skin care products locally made. There has traditionally been a booth supporting animal welfare.
Food will be available at the Oak Hill Methodist Church, the Yellow Deli, and Mattice. Mattice has coffee and pastries from See and Bee. The Methodist Church offers baked goods, hot dogs and the Weslock’s Pizza Box. The Yellow Deli offers their usual fare.
Several programs will be offered at new businesses in town. Jodie Colwell McCabe a long-time resident of the hamlet who recently opened Wild Flower, and will do some flower arranging demonstrations for children at her shop.
Sue Benfield, owner of Makers of Manners, a knitwear company in Oak Hill, will demonstrate how she produces her products. After a career as a knitwear designer, production advisor and textiles professor in London and New York City, she now consults and maintains an extensive swatch collection in the studio above Mattice Boutique, a boutique department store housed in the Mattice Law Office next to the DeWitt Farmhouse.
Makers of Manners also manufactures small-batch knitwear and accessories for select apparel companies. There is a “Made Upstairs” collection available in the store, which includes original and renovated knitwear for men and women. Materials include locally sourced yarns from upstate New York flocks. A course of hand and machine-knitting classes is planned for the fall.
Ken Dean’s Garden at Mattice will be open for viewing and picnicking. Ken, a botanist who was a long-time resident of the town, was a founding member of OHPA and planted lilies, which would bloom for Oak Hill Day.
Historic buildings that will be open that day include Ford’s store, an early carriage house that is just opening a new shop, an 1830s law office, I U Tripp general store, Oak Hill Methodist Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Yellow Deli in Lyman Tremain Opera House and Lodge Hall.
Pidgin, housed in the Ford’s Store building, is operated by poet-collector Kostas Anagnopoulos. PIDGIN is best described as an antique shop with select contemporary merchandise from brands and designers that Kostas loves. It is a uniquely individualistic shop, hard to describe and yet fundamentally authentic. It is a place where one can spend hours perusing distinctive one-of-a-kind objects, or stock up on core essentials of the perfect country weekend.
You can see there is lots to offer at Oak Hill Day, both old and new. Karen Patterson says if you would like to participate, don’t wait to be asked; please say so, but please say so as soon as possible. OHPA wants to include everyone who wants to participate and to have it run smoothly. You can ask questions through the Oak Hill and Vicinity Facebook page.
New yard sale signs are available this year from Oak Hill Preservation Association which originated the event to support the historic character of the town.
Yard sales which start the day about 9 a.m. are something of a frenzy of shoppers looking for bargains.
Diane Dratz organizes the ice cream social at the end of the day with free ice cream from Stewarts.
There will be pizza at the Methodist Church courtesy of the Wesslocks.
The event started as a way to support St Paul’s church; one of the two historic churches listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This year the ice cream social and music as well as several talks will be there.