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 on the committee,which meets annually to plan for the Festival.
The event now showcases foods and desserts from all over the world including carrot cake, local produce, music and entertainment, vendors and crafters, a miniature health fair, and plenty of activities to keep kids entertained.
Vendors and crafters sell items such as jewelry, kitchen gadgets, pottery, cosmetics, floral designs, clothing and more. The health fair, staffed by Agudat Achim's Faith Community Nursing volunteers with support from Ellis Hospital, provides free blood-pressure screenings and health-related information.
Special afternoon concerts have featured the local bands Flame, Joe's Boys, and the McKrells. Other entertainment has included a Klezmer band featuring youth from the congregation, Israeli dancers, and Art Isenberg on the keyboard.
While there is always a variety of food choices at the Carrot Festival event need to save room for some cake. The cake, which is the signature Carrot Festival offering, is two layers thick with a praline filling and cream cheese frosting.
The congregation always gets requests for its carrot recipes, so they compiled a cookbook, which is sold throughout the world, of all the congregation's favorite Carrot Festival recipes, in addition to other kosher recipes.
Copyrighted in 2006 the cookbook titled Divine Kosher Cuisine, features some recipes, which are derived straight from the Carrot Festival. The cookbook can be purchased online in our products section.
Remember admission is always free.
Visit our Carrot Festival Facebook page for more information.