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Madison County Hop Festival
September 17 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm| $30
Madison County Hop Heritage continues with a Hop Heritage Tour on Sunday, September 17 where participants convene at the exhibit Bittersweet: The Story of Hop Culture in Central New York at the Madison County Historical Society, located at 435 Main Street in Oneida, where morning refreshments will be served. The film When Hop Was King will be shown followed by a question and answer period. Using a large diorama of a hop house and the diagram of a hop house in the tour booklet prepared for each person, Carl Stearns, a preservation architect, will coach the audience as to what architectural elements are similar to all hop houses and what ones are special to certain types of houses. As the coach travels south from Oneida Stearns will be pointing out other aspects of the landscape, as he will be doing throughout the tour. Stearns and Dot Willsey, a hop heritage promoter, will use travel time to further education about hops, Hop Fest, and hop farming. The individual preservation contributions that hop house owners take will be discussed. The owner pays for upkeep, insurance, etc. and lets strangers visit in order to heighten awareness of these unique architectural treasures.
The first stop will be an 1867 limestone oast house that has been lovingly cared for by the Marshall Family since it was built.Visitors will step inside the huge round kiln and catch the astonishment of the tall cone above with a cupola vent. Tools used by the tender who slept on the plank bed between the kiln and the storeroom line up on hooks around the oast. Visitors may climb the stairs to the level of the slatted floor, and then look for the chute hole to send dried hops to the press room.
As the coach continues down Valley Mills Road, other remnants of limestone hop houses are noticed. The next stop is the Kate and Larry Fisher’s Foothill Hops. The Fishers attended a Hop Fest many years ago, and were motivated to start a hop farm – the second in NYS. Visitors will get to try to pick hops, watch a hop picker built by Larry from 19th C. diagrams, and be able to shop for hop related foods and souvenirs. The Fishers were named Hop Royalty in 2004.
The coach will travel to Bouckville to the site of the first commercial hop yard in NYS and see the grave of James Cooledge who first introduced commercial hop growing in NYS.
The coach will stop at the Merkt’s double kiln and the Lipsey’s double pyramidal for more examinations of the organization of the four basic processing rooms.
The tour will continue to the Sangerfield River Valley where the double pyramidal hop houses look across the valley at each other. A stop at Morrisville State College to see a modern mechanical hop picker used today and to visit the Copper Turret to hear about the Brewing Institute Program offered at the college and to get a behind the scenes tour of the brewery that is slated to open to the public in October. The tour will stop for lunch and brewery tour of Empire Farm Brewery in Cazenovia.
Tickets for the tour are $30. Reservation required by September 8. Lunch will be at Empire Farm Brewery. Attendees receive a complimentary 5 oz. glass. We ask that attendees dress accordingly. Close toed shoes are required to tour the breweries. The tour will start at 9 am at the Madison County Historical Society located at 435 Main Street in Oneida and ends there at 5 pm. For more information and tickets please contact the society at 315-363-4136, or visit our website- www.madisoncountyhopfest.org, or email Sydney at [email protected]
The Hop Heritage Tour is made possible from the generous support from Humanities of New York and Hale Transportation Group.