By Mary Lou Nahas
For Capital Region Independent Media
Plans are coming together for the annual Oak Hill Day, this year on Saturday, July 29.
The day is intended to celebrate the spirit of the community, both past and present. Karen Patterson, president of the Oak Hill Preservation Association (OHPA), which originated and sponsors the day to support the community and help preserve the rich history of the hamlet, is chairing the event again this year.
The day starts at 9 a.m. with lawn sales around town, and ends with ice cream and music on the lawn of the Oak Hill Methodist church at 4 p.m.
The yard sales are spread 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. Signs can be picked up at the post office, town building and I U Tripp store. They are easily visible as you drive down the road.
The Oak Hill and Vicinity Facebook page will advertise locations of sales if we know them. You can also ask questions or report plans on there also.
If you are coming from the direction of Greenville, the first sale you will notice is Mert and Kathy Hulbert’s group sale, which has off-street parking. You will definitely want to stop. Kathy’s brother will be bringing his hot dog wagon. They are also making donuts (I love them) and selling baked goods. There are multiple vendors with a wide assortment of items. They will also be offering jewelry and cards from the Norton Hill Thrift shop.
If the bridge is still under construction, when you come to the town building, you will have to detour. Grey Fox participants were able to do that, so you can, too. Google shows the way.
Coming into Oak Hill by the post office you will note sales and historic buildings that you can view: the Yellow Deli, Pidgen, Used and Amused, Wild Flower, and I U Tripp will be open. These are all housed in historic buildings that you can see.
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. 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., he says.
Used and Amused is housed in a historic carriage house and offers many vintage items.
Further up at Wild Flower Jodie will be teaching a flower-arranging class for children, and there will be a lemonade stand. Jodie also offers jewelry and art. This shop is housed in what was once the Winnie home.
A bit further up will be more sales at the Methodist Church, Mattice, I U Tripp, Ken’s Garden Folly, the McCabe house and possibly others. There is also a sale on Niles Road, which can be reached by going up Lee Road.
And on the other end of town Jeff Ives will have bales of hay for sale. There will likely be more vendors. If someone who does not live in the hamlet wants a spot, let us know on the Oak Hill and Vicinity Facebook page.
In addition to the annual yard sale, the Methodist Church will have a bake sale and sell hot dogs. And not to be missed is The Pizza Box, the Wesslocks’ converted vintage horse trailer, with made-from-scratch, wood-fired, farm-to-table pizza. You may have had their pizzas at other events, weddings and parties, but on Oak Hill Day, 100% of the profits go to the church as a fundraiser, Melanie Wesslock explained: “It’s a project made of great food and community fellowship. We look forward to seeing everyone on July 29.”
In the afternoon, after interest in the sales has somewhat died down and everyone has had something to eat, there will be two historic programs. From 2-3 p.m. in the Tripp barn behind the brick house, you can learn about restoring historic barns. The Tripp Barn, listed on the National Historic Register, incorporates places for cows, horses, pigs, chickens and hay. On a bigger farm these functions likely would be accommodated in separate buildings, but here they are all in one.
Fran Cox, the Barn Doctor, will be on hand to explain how the barn was constructed. There will also be information on the Historic Barn Rehabilitation Credit Program. Since 2022, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has administered the application, review and certification process. Fran worked on the Mattice barn across the highway last summer and that work was eligible for tax credit. Last year OHPA dedicated Oak Hill Day to Cox for his work on many of the historic buildings in Oak Hill. He will also be offering tools and materials for sale during the day.
From 3-4 p.m. we will repeat the very popular “Growing Up in Oak Hill” program, when longtime residents talk about their early days here. We have invited John Haneke, who now lives in California but grew up on Fish Road; Ken Mabey, whose grandparents lived in Oak Hill when he was a boy; Kenneth Brand, whose family owned Elm Rest and what had been Ford’s store; Janet Nelson and John Hull, children of Ralph and Joyce Hull; and others to participate. You certainly don’t need an invitation to participate.
I’d like to hear also from some folks who grew up here 10 or 20 years ago. During this session newcomers will hear oral history and get an idea of what life in this hamlet was like in the past. We will also remember Iris Cochran who in the past shared wonderful stories about what it was like to move up from New York City as a child, live on Fish Road, attend a one-room school, \ and live through a blizzard.
Oak Hill Day will end at 4 p.m. with an ice cream social and music on the church lawn. The Twelve Tribes, who have played music on this day for years, welcome anyone in the community to bring an instrument and play with them. Bring your lawn chairs, enjoy the music and ice cream, talk to your neighbors.
You can see there is lots to offer at Oak Hill Day.
“If you would like to participate, don’t wait to be asked; please say so but please say so as soon as possible,” said Karen Patterson. “OHPA wants to include everyone who wants to participate.”