By Liana Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
COEYMANS HOLLOW — The leaves were a riot of color and there was a crispness to the air as hundreds turned out for the Fall Festival at Lawson Lake County Park on Saturday.
The Albany County Fall Festival had something for everyone — from animals like horses and chickens to check out, to games, face painting, fishing, hiking, crafts and live music by The Hilltown Ramblers.
Valerie Ryan, now of Selkirk, grew up in the area and recalls coming to Lawson Lake in her youth.
“We always came here boating, fishing, kayaking. We still come here with the kids all the time, we bring the dogs to go swimming and we have had some great walks on the trails,” Ryan said.
Ryan came to the festival with her niece, Jacquelyn Cordero, 12, and a large group of parents and kids to check out the activities Saturday.
“So far the kids really liked the pumpkins and the face painting — those seem to be the most popular right now,” Ryan said. “I liked the cider and donuts, and they are also giving out apples.”
Her niece, Jacquelyn, was getting her face painted and had already tried out one of the more adventurous activities.
“I liked the rock climbing, and I like the face painting — especially the ladybug they gave me,” Jacquelyn said.
And, of course, the Fall Festival had a pumpkin carving station, fire pits to warm up and apple cider to celebrate the season.
Historian Kevin Fuerst hosted a Native Living Skills exhibit displaying how Native Americans built items that are used on a daily basis.
“It shows how the Natives used animals, trees and plants to make common, ordinary things that we have today that are manufactured in a factory,” Fuerst said. “Everything was centered around deer because they had a lot of deer.”
Deer were used not just for meat — the skin was used to make clothing; bones were crafted into tools; and deer tendons were pounded with a rock, twisted and then made into string for a bow and arrow.
Baskets to hold water were made of pine needles and stone was used for arrowheads. Cordage, or string, could be made from natural resources that were commonplace for Native Americans, including milkweed and the dogbane plant. And string was a vital item that was needed for everything from making clothing to fishing.
“They fished the Hudson River with nets, so they were very large nets,” Fuerst said.
Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy said the festival was a success.
“It was a beautiful day and we had a great turnout for our annual Fall Festival at Albany County’s hidden gem — Lawson Lake County Park,” McCoy said. “I want to thank everyone for joining us, and all of those local businesses and nonprofits who made it an amazing experience to give back to our residents.”
Here are more photos from this weekend’s Fall Festival: