Fairs and Festivals
Once again, it’s that lovely and amazing time of year: summer. After a terribly long, icy winter and slow-starting spring, the sun is shining — and the region is bursting with events ripe for the picking. Whether you’re looking for quality theater, classical music, family fun, or anything in between (and we do mean anything — classic motorcycles, anyone?), there’s a fair or festival somewhere in the Valley to help you celebrate the season
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The Rhinebeck Grand National Super Meet showcases a huge collection of antique motorcycles
Photograph courtesy of Grand National Super Meet
Rhinebeck Grand National Super Meet
Motorheads delight — the country’s largest antique motorcycle show and swap meet is back for its third year of death-defying demonstrations, international vendors, and unparalleled exhibitions. Last year the Super Meet brought over 10,000 visitors from around the world to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, but Meet Coordinator Tim Talleur is confident that number will increase by at least half this year.
To be considered an antique, a bike must be at least 35 years old, but many of the ones on display date back much further than that. In fact, one of the show’s biggest draws is the Motorcycle Timeline. Last year’s featured over 400 motorcycles (with another 150 on standby), the oldest dating back to 1896. The kicker? “Every bike in the timeline was in perfect working condition,” Talleur says. “No one has seen these bikes running before. They’ve seen them in books or pictures, but they’ve never heard them run.” The sheer number of pristine specimens even impressed a “shocked” curator from the Guggenheim, who approached Talleur. “They tried to have an exhibit and couldn’t find bikes for it,” he says.
But it’s not just the motorcycles that draw a crowd; the meet has joined forces with the Antique Truck Club of America and the fairground’s Century Museum Village and Collector’s Association, which hosts an Antique Machinery and Tractor Show. “Basically, if it’s old, leaks oil, and makes noise, we want it,” jokes Talleur.
The event is family-friendly in more ways than one. In addition to hosting the Dutchess County Sherriff’s Operation Safe Child, the meet welcomes back the Cody Ives Globe of Death. A mom ’n pop family ensemble of daredevils, the Ives defy physics as they ride motorcycles within steel balls as small as 16 feet and with as many as three riders. And the thrills don’t stop there: The California Hell Riders will be in attendance with their “Wall of Death,” a 24-foot-wide circular board track with vertical walls, modeled after the outlawed Motordomes of the early 20th century. “You can watch from the ledge as they ride 1930s Indians right up to the edge,” says Talleur. “You’ve got to see it.”
One-day pass $15, three-day pass $25, under 13 free; www.rhinebecknationalmeet.com
Up next: River Day