"A Local Slice of Life - The Rondout Valley’s Jennie Bell Pie Festival" by Gretchen Reed
Established in 2005, the Jennie Bell Pie Festival was named in remembrance of Jennie Depuy Bell (1915-2004), whose family was among the first settlers of what is now the Town of Rochester. The mother of Gordon Bell of Bell’s Tree Farm in Accord, Jennie was well known for her home-baked pies, which she often provided for Rochester Reformed Church dinners and other community events.
Held at Kelder’s Farm on Route 209 in Accord, home of Chomsky the giant gnome, the festival averages from 2,000 to 2,500 visitors. In addition to the festival attractions, visitors may also enjoy the farm’s petting zoo and hay rides, along with a wide variety of vendors offering food, crafts and other goods
This year’s festival will be held on Sept. 28 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and
Sept. 29 from noon until 10 p.m. and is being expanded to include a Battle of the Bands on Friday night, an amusement midway with rides and games, increased vendor participation and a concert featuring a local band. As in past years, the festival will include a spectacular fireworks show on Saturday evening.
As always, the heart of the festival is the pies - and the pie contest. Pie judging criteria include looks, flavor and crust. There is a local division and also a children’s division. The winners’ names are added to a plaque displayed at Kelders.
Local bakers, using local ingredients, begin planning their pies days in advance. Town of Rochester residents Lolly Chase and Lynn Churchill have both been baking pies for the festival for years. Their pies, along with many others, are sold to appreciative attendees.
Click the link below to view a video filmed and edited of the 4th annual Jennie Bell Pie Festival is on Youtube: