By Kristin Schultz
The changing leaves are not the only portent of autumn. Congregation Agudat Achim is gearing up for its 39th annual Carrot Festival on Sept. 10, and attendees can expect a taste of new things and familiar favorites.
At least 85 pounds each of carrots and sweet potatoes will be cooked up into the traditional Jewish stew called tzimmes. Hungry festival-goers can also sample Israeli salad, hummus, falafel and brisket sandwiches along with hamburgers, hot dogs and, naturally, carrot cake.
For the first time in the festival’s history, attendees can learn about or sign up for the international bone marrow registry. The non-profit organization DKMS will be on hand to answer questions and register those interested in fighting blood cancers and diseases.
Joe’s Boys will entertain the crowd along with the Albany Drum Circle, Die Shaine Maidelach und Die Schmendriks, School of Rock house band and more.
According to festival organizers, the theme this year will be “Remember, Honor, Celebrate.” There will be a brief ceremony shortly after noon remembering the events of Sept. 11, 2001, celebrating the 125th anniversary of Congregation Agudat Achim and remembering the victims of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. Additionally, 100 percent of the proceeds of the synagogue’s cookbook, “Divine Kosher Cuisine,” will be donated to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey relief.
There will also be a farmers’ market featuring produce and mums. Pony rides and crafts will be available for the youngsters along with other activities. A pet adoption clinic will be back for its second year.
“The best part is how it brings the whole community together — both the community-at-large and our synagogue community,” said Hillary Fink, Carrot Festival chair. “Together, not only do we have a great time, tikkun olam (Hebrew for Repair the World) is a significant piece. We will have a community service tent giving local non-profit organizations the opportunity to highlight their services.”
Admission is free with food and other activities available for purchase. Donations will be taken for parking and those who donate will be entered into a raffle drawing for an overnight stay in Albany or a wine party at GlenPeter Jewelers.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10 at Congregation Agudat Achim, 2117 Union St., Niskayuna. For more information call 518-393-9211 or visit the event’s Facebook page: Carrot Festival.